Girl, 7, dies of dehydration, exhaustion in Border Patrol custody: Report

By Caroline Linton

/ CBS News

A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala who had entered the country illegally last week has died in custody, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection told The Washington Post on Thursday. The girl died from dehydration and shock.

The girl and her father were taken into custody on Dec. 6 around 10 p.m., south of Lordsburg, New Mexico, the Post reported. They were part of 163 migrants who turned themselves in at the border.

The Post reports that according to CBP records, she started having seizures more than eight hours later. CBP told the Post in a statement that she "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days." Her body temperature was recorded by emergency responders as 105.7 degrees.

She was transported via helicopter to an El Paso hospital, where she died less than 24 hours later. CBP told the Post there would be autopsy performed on the girl.

The girl's father is still in El Paso while he waits for a meeting with Guatemalan consular officials, the Post reports.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS News.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who serves as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted the Post story Thursday and wrote the committee will be "will be demanding immediate answers to this tragedy" from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

The number of families apprehended illegally crossing the border from Mexico reached a record high in November for the fourth consecutive month. CBP said 25,172 families were detained between ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border in November.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman told CBS News last week the steady increase is a "predictable result of a broken immigration system — including flawed judicial rulings."

On Dec. 7, a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a temporary restraining order by a district court judge that blocked a White House directive that would make immigrants who cross into the U.S. illegally ineligible for asylum.

First published on December 13, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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