Family of migrant girl who died in Border Patrol custody disputes agency’s account of death

The family of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in U.S. Border Patrol custody is disputing the federal government’s account of the events leading to her death, saying her father had provided her with water and food during their journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. border.

The statement from the girl’s family and their El Paso, Texas, lawyers was issued Saturday at a news conference in El Paso organized by Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House, a local nonprofit organization that aids and houses immigrants.

The father, Nery Caal Cuz, has been at one of Annunciation House’s shelters since Dec. 9, the day after his daughter, identified as Jakelin Caal Maquin, died at a local hospital.

“She had not suffered from a lack of water or food prior to approaching the border,” according to the statement released by Garcia. Neither the family’s lawyers nor the girl’s father attended the news conference. “Jakelin’s father took care of Jakelin – made sure she was fed and had sufficient water.”

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