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Christmas Day tragedy for immigrant family in federal custody

December 25, 2018

An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy in Customs and Border Protection custody died early Christmas Day at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

CBP released a statement announcing the death just before noon on Tuesday.

The official cause of death is still unknown.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent noticed the child looked sick early Dec. 24, and the boy was transferred with his father to the hospital, according to the agency’s statement. The child was diagnosed with a cold and was found to have a fever. He was released around mid-afternoon with Ibuprofen and amoxicillin prescriptions, the release says.

RELATED: US says 2nd Guatemalan child has died in immigration custody

Later on Christmas eve, the child began vomiting and was transferred back to the hospital. He died shortly after midnight.

CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility plans to conduct a review, the statement says, and the Guatemalan government and U.S. Congress have been notified.

“CBP will release more details as available and appropriate, and will ensure an independent and thorough review of the circumstances,” the release says.

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The death comes weeks after the Washington Post reported on the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, in CBP custody. The little girl and her family crossed in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, and died in an El Paso hospital after she was admitted with a fever.

Immigrant families who cross illegally and seek asylum in the United States are held in federal facilities until it’s determined whether they will be sent back or released to join other family members or a sponsor already in the United States, pending a court hearing.

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