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Jakelin Caal’s father contradicts officials on Border Patrol custody



The father of Jakelin Caal Maquin, a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in Border Patrol custody earlier this month, has again contradicted US officials’ account of her last hours, saying she was given no water while they were detained.

Jakelin and her father were among a group of 163 migrants arrested by Border Patrol agents on December 6 in a remote stretch of the New Mexico desert. A little more than 24 hours later, the girl was dead.

According to his lawyers, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz said agents didn’t give him or his daughter water between roughly 9:16 p.m. on December 6, when the group was taken to the Antelope Wells Port of Entry, and 5 a.m. the next morning, when they were placed on a bus to the Loudsburg Border Patrol station more than 90 miles away.

Read more: The family of a 7-year-old migrant girl who died in Border Patrol custody is disputing US officials’ account of her death

The information contradicts a government timeline that said the migrants “had access to food, water and restrooms” while they were held at Antelope Wells. It also contradicts a statement from the Guatemalan consulate head Tekandi Paniagua, who said Jakelin and Nery had both been given water.

“What we do know and what our client is unequivocal about is that no water was provided to either him or his daughter,” Chris Benoit, a lawyer representing Jakelin’s father, told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

“They were provided cookies,” he added.

The family’s story contradicts Border Patrol’s

A picture of Jakelin Caal, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. custody after crossing illegally from Mexico to the U.S., is seen during a protest held to demand justice for her in El Paso, U.S. December 15, 2018.
Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Though the cause of Jakelin’s death hasn’t yet been determined, Border Patrol has faced accusations that the agency didn’t do enough to get her immediate medical care.

According to the timeline, Jakelin couldn’t access emergency medical care until roughly 90 minutes after she began vomiting on the bus to Lordsburg. Customs and Border Protection said the delay was due to the remoteness of their location.

“Meeting emergency medical personnel in Lordsburg was the best means to provide the child with emergency care,” CBP said in the timeline.

Claudia Maquin, 27, shows a photo of her daughter, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in Raxruha, Guatemala, on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.
Associated Press/Oliver de Ros

Jakelin’s father has also contradicted US officials’ previous claim that the girl had not been given food or water for days before the group’s arrest. In a statement released by lawyers last Saturday, Jakelin’s parents said she had been given food and water and appeared to be in good health during the migrants’ journey to the US.

They also took issue with a form Jakelin’s father signed saying she was in good health. The form is written in English, which he doesn’t speak.

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

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