El Paso, TX – The father of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died after she was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol said he has “no complaints” about how the federal agents treated him and his daughter.
Guatemalan Consul Tekandi Paniagua told CNN that the father, Nery Gilberto Caal, said the agents did everything within their power to help his daughter, Jakelin Caal Maquin, after she became sick on a bus that had traveled from the Antelope Wells Port of Entry which is an international border crossing in New Mexico to a border patrol station in Lordsburg, New Mexico, according to CNN.
The seven-year-old girl died December 8 while at a hospital in El Paso, Texas. The cause of death has not been determined, according to CNN.
Despite no cause of death being released by the medical examiner, media outlets have been reporting on speculation about her death. These reports have been further pushed by politicians.
The father released a statement via his lawyers that said he was “grateful for the many first responders that tried to save young Jakelin’s life in New Mexico and Texas,” according to CNN.
The lawyers for the family called for an investigation into her death and said the family would cooperate.
The lawyers criticized the border authorities for asking Caal to sign a form written in English about the state of his daughter’s health not long after they arrived at the border, according to CNN.
At that point, the daughter showed no health problems.
The father doesn’t speak English and his primary language is Q’eqchi’.
The lawyers also disputed a report that Jakelin had not eaten or had any water for several days while crossing before the border patrol took her into custody, CNN reported.
“Jakelin’s father took care of Jakelin — made sure she was fed and had sufficient water,” the statement said, according to CNN. “She had not suffered from a lack of water or food prior to approaching the border.”