The family of Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died in US custody, said goodbye to the 7-year-old girl in a funeral in San Antonio Secortez, Guatemala on Christmas Day (Dec. 25).
Jakelin died in a hospital in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 8, two nights after her father, Nery Caal, turned himself and his daughter into US Border Patrol custody. She died from dehydration and shock after running a high fever, and “reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days,” Customs and Border Protection told the Washington Post (paywall).
“The sun shone and a small speaker played religious songs at the graveside where around 150 people gathered to bid Jakelin farewell,” wrote Reuters photographer Carlos Barria, who covered the funeral. “Relatives and neighbors took turns carrying the girl’s white coffin, trudging along a marshy, muddy road to a tiny cemetery where only seven gray tombs marked the earth.”
Weeks after Jakelin’s death, another migrant child, 8-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo, also from Guatemala, died in US custody on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24). His death has been attributed to the flu. Colleen Kraft, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told NBC News that while she did not fault the hospital where he died, “clearly his treatment wasn’t adequate.”
Donald Trump blamed the deaths on Democrats today (Dec. 29), despite the fact that Republicans control the White House and both branches of Congress.