Guatemalan boy, 8, dies in immigration custody after being diagnosed with a cold – NBC News

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

 / Updated 

By Daniella Silva

An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy died of unknown causes in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve in New Mexico, the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

A Border Patrol agent noticed that the child, who was apprehended with his father, “showed signs of potential illness” on Monday, CBP said, citing initial reporting.

The father and son were then taken to a medical center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where the child was initially diagnosed with a common cold, according to the statement. When the boy was evaluated for release, hospital staff found a fever and he was held for an additional 90 minutes before being released on Monday afternoon, CBP said. The boy was given prescriptions for amoxicillin, an antibiotic, and the painkiller ibuprofen.

On Monday night, the boy was nauseous and began vomiting and was sent back to the same hospital but lost consciousness en route. Hospital staff were unable to resuscitate the boy and pronounced him dead at 11:48 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the agency said in an updated statement late Tuesday. CBP had said previously that the boy died early on Christmas Day.

The boy’s father was being detained late Tuesday at the Alamogordo Station pending transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, CBP said in its updated statement. He has spoken to his spouse in Guatemala and the Guatemalan Consulate, the agency said.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex., the incoming chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, identified the boy as Felix Alonzo-Gomez in a statement Tuesday.