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US Authorities Have Confirmed A 10-Year-Old Migrant Girl Died In Custody Last Year

The girl had a history of congenital heart defects and fell into a coma after surgery, officials said.

Posted on May 22, 2019, at 9:24 p.m. ET

Nurphoto / Getty Images

A 10-year-old unaccompanied girl from El Salvador who was detained at the border in 2018 also died in US custody, officials acknowledged on Wednesday. The previously unreported death brings the number of migrant children who have died after being detained in recent months to six.

The unidentified girl, who died on Sept. 29 at Children’s Hospital of Omaha, Nebraska, was a "medically fragile child with a history of congenital heart defects" when she was taken into custody in March 2018, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which takes custody of unaccompanied migrant children.

News of her death was first reported by CBS and comes days after a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died after being detained for a week by Border Patrol agents in Texas.

She is the fifth reported child to die in US custody and the sixth to die after being apprehended at the border since September. While autopsies are still pending for many of the children, one of died due to complications from sepsis, a potential lethal reaction to an infection.

Officials said the 10-year-old girl died while in a coma following complications from surgery.

She was taken to a nursing facility in Phoenix, Arizona, in May before being transferred to an Omaha, Nebraska, on Sept. 26, 2018, to be closer to her family. Three days later, she was transported to Children’s Hospital of Omaha where she died due to fever and respiratory distress, according to HHS.

The other five children who died were from Guatemala. They were: Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died Dec. 8; Felipe Gómez Alonzo died Dec. 24; Juan de León Gutiérrez died April 30; 2-year-old Wilmer Josué Ramírez Vásquez died May 14; and Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez died May 20.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.