(3TV/CBS 5) - Jakelin Caal had turned 7 years old the week before she died in border patrol custody.

“The death of a child is the most painful experience that a parent or family can endure,” said Ruben Garcia, the Annunciation House director, which is a shelter for refugees and migrant families in El Paso, Texas. He is serving as Caal’s family spokesman.

[RELATED: Father of Guatemalan girl who died in US custody has 'no complaints' about her treatment, consul says]

Garcia addressed the media Saturday, angry about how she and her father were handled.

According to Border Patrol agents, Jakelin appeared healthy when they took her in, and they said her father signed off on a form that she was in good health. But the next morning, her father told agents she was throwing up as they boarded a bus to a border station, and after the 95-mile drive, she wasn't breathing.

[RELATED: The final hours of the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in Border Patrol custody]

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

So who is responsible for Jakelin's death?

[RELATED: US says 7-year-old immigrant who died in custody had not appeared ill]

“It’s going to be more than anything else a medical malpractice case,” said Phoenix attorney Danny Ortega.

Oretega said right now there is a big piece of missing information: her cause of death.

“Was it something that was already there? Was it something she was brought in with? Did she look healthy? Did she look normal?” said Ortega.

However, he said even though Jakelin's father signed a form that she was in good health, he is not a doctor. And if Jakelin came down with an illness while in their custody, then her family could have grounds to bring a claim against the Department of Homeland Security.

“But at the end of the day when you take custody of that child, or anybody, especially a child, you are taking responsibility of that child,” said Ortega.

Jakelin's body is currently in El Paso. From there she will go to a funeral home in Laredo, then will be flown back home to Guatemala.


Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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(4) comments


Maybe she is not even his own daughter. Just used her to get into the USA then killed her.


Her parent is responsible, period. That little girl had no choice but to be dragged across miles and miles with little food and water, only to arrive and become ill. It's shameful


Who the heck you think is responsible? Charge the parents with neglect resulting in the death of a child.


This is another reason illegals should not be allowed to cross into our country. You can bet she was carrying some sort of a disease that could spread like wildfire across our country. And Garcia, it is totally wrong to blame anyone but her father for her death and he was responsible for bringing her here illegally.

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