Body of 7-year-old girl who died at U.S. Border returned to home country

Junie Sihlangu
Dec 24, 2018
09:35 A.M.

On Sunday afternoon, Guatemala’s Foreign Ministry representatives received the body of Jakelin Caal at the city’s international airport. Her body was transported in a white coffin.


The 7-year-old’s relatives weren’t available as they couldn’t afford to travel to the city’s capital. Jackelin’s body was then loaded into the back of a black hearse by workers and will be driven to her family.

Jakelin Caal’s family expects to receive her body in the pre-dawn hours of Monday at her native village of Raxruha. Her grandfather, Domingo Caal’s home in the village of San Antonio Secortez, has been set up with a small wooden altar.

The altar is decorated with vases filled with overflowing flowers and there are also photographs of Jakelin. A hand-lettered message reading “We miss you” was also created for her last goodbye.


For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. Dozens of women have prepared tamales and beans to feed mourners who will attend.

Jakelin’s village has no paved streets, running water or electricity. The little girl and her father, Nery Caal, 29, were among a group of 163 migrants who arrived at the New Mexico border earlier this month.

They were taken into custody by the US border patrol on December 6, after entering into the US illegally. Nerv informed a US agent that the girl was sick and vomiting.


It’s believed that the girl’s father signed a waiver stating that she was in good health. However, it isn’t clear if he understood what it said.

It’s alleged that the form was written in English but that agents read it to him in Spanish. The two then left on a bus from the Antelope Wells port of entry to the Lordsburg station which is around 90 minutes away.


According to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statement, by then Jakelin’s temperature had reached 105.7 degrees Fahrenheit. She had to be revived by emergency medical technicians.

The little girl was then flown to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she died on December 8. CBP said, “The child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported."


Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has blamed Jakelin’s death on her family. She called the incident “a very sad example of the dangers to migrants.”

At El Paso’s Providence Hospital doctors revealed that the cause of death was septic shock, fever, and dehydration. It wasn’t clear if Jakelin had received any food or water in the hours before her seizure.

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