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DHS OIG Completes Investigation of the Death of Eight-Year-Old Guatemalan Child

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For Immediate Release

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The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently completed an investigation into the death of a Guatemalan child who died in U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) custody.  

The investigation found no misconduct or malfeasance by DHS personnel:

•    On December 18, 2018, an 8-year-old child and his father were apprehended near El Paso, Texas.  
•    On December 23, 2018, they were transported to the Alamogordo, New Mexico USBP Checkpoint to await family placement.
•    On December 24, 2018, a USBP agent noticed that the child appeared ill and interviewed the father, who requested medical treatment for his son.  
•    USBP transported the child and the child’s father to the nearest hospital for evaluation and treatment.  
•    The hospital staff diagnosed the child with an upper respiratory infection, prescribed amoxicillin and acetaminophen, and discharged the child, who was returned to the USBP facility.
•    USBP personnel obtained and administered the prescriptions to the child.
•    The child’s condition improved briefly, and subsequently worsened.
•    USBP again transported the child and father to the hospital; upon arrival, the child was unresponsive and pronounced dead.
•    OIG conducted a detailed investigation and coordinated with the local medical examiner’s office.  
•    The state medical examiner's autopsy report found the child died from sepsis caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.  

DHS Agency
Oversight Area

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