Family of migrant girl who died in federal custody calls for 'transparent and neutral' investigation

The family of a 7-year-old migrant girl who died in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody is disputing official reports on her death and calling for an investigation.

Attorneys for the family of Jakelin Caal Maquin released a statement on behalf of the family late Saturday calling on authorities to conduct “a transparent and neutral” probe into the girl’s death.

The statement pushed back on an official report from CBP officials that said the child had “not eaten or had any water for several days.”

“Jakelin had not been crossing the desert for days,” the family said. “Jakelin’s father took care of Jakelin – made sure she was fed and had sufficient water … she had not suffered from a lack of water or food prior to approaching the border.”


The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) internal watchdog has launched an investigation into Caal’s death. The administration said that the girl died from dehydration and shock while in U.S. custody after crossing the border with her father.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTop immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America MORE called the 7-year-old’s death “a very sad example of the dangers of this journey.”

Officials said that the girl began having seizures eight hours after being detained, and was treated 90 minutes after showing symptoms.

The family’s statement also criticized CBP for having Caal's father sign forms written in English, noting that the pair speaks Q'eqchi' and Spanish.

“It is unacceptable for any government agency to have persons in custody sign documents in a language that they clearly do not understand,” the attorneys wrote.

Caal’s family also said that the medical examiner’s office, which conducted an autopsy on the girl, has not made any public statements or released records to the family.

“We would ask that the media and federal agencies cease further speculation about her cause of death until these documents are released to Jakelin’s family," the statement read.