The mother went ahead of a group she was with after "she noticed her daughter started having difficulty breathing and pain," U.S. Customs and Border Protection said
An 1-month-old girl died last month after crossing the border into Arizona with her mother, officials said.
On the morning of Sept. 23, a video surveillance operator “observed two individuals” making the crossing on foot, according to a release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Shortly thereafter, agents said that they had located one individual, identified as a 16-year-old female, as well as her 1-month-old daughter. Another individual was determined to have returned to Mexico.
The Border Patrol agent told the CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) that "the mother was softly crying and sniffling when he first encountered her."
"The agent reported he observed the mother holding an infant who was covered in a blanket," the CBP's news release added. "The agent instructed the mother with child to get into his transport van and proceeded to drive towards the Nogales Border Patrol Station."
A review of video from within Nogales Border Patrol Station by CBP’s OPR revealed that just after 3 a.m., the agent and the mother carrying the infant had walked into the sally port and that the apprehending agent spoke with another Border Patrol agent, who then spoke with the mother.
"That agent began to rapidly escort the mother and infant toward the medical screening area where CBP-contracted medical personnel were located at approximately 3:02 a.m, 11 minutes after their initial encounter," the release continued. "The second agent observed the infant had labored breathing and moved quickly with the infant toward medical personnel. This agent entered the first available room and medical personnel, consisting of two CBP-contracted nurse practitioners and three Emergency Medical Technicians, immediately began assessing the infant."
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Medical personnel tried to resuscitate the girl before an agent called the Nogales emergency medical services for additional help. Ultimately, Nogales Fire Department EMS personnel took over efforts to save the infant.
The baby and mom were then taken to Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital, where the infant was pronounced dead at 4 a.m.
During an interview with the mother, she told OPR special agents that she traveled ahead of a group she was with in order to get her baby to an American hospital when "she noticed her daughter started having difficulty breathing and pain as they approached the U.S./Mexico border."
"The mother told OPR special agents when she first entered the transport van, she observed her daughter was still alive, and could hear her crying and breathing," the agency shared, adding that as she was being transported the she told an agent that "her daughter was in distress, almost dead, and needed to go to the hospital, but she was unsure if the agent was able to understand her."
Once they arrived at Nogales Border Patrol Station, the CBP reported that the mother "observed [her daughter] was no longer breathing."
According to the release, the agent immediately took her daughter to see medical personnel. "The mother advised her daughter was ultimately taken to the hospital, where medical personnel informed the woman that her daughter had passed away," the CBP said.
The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Sept. 25. The results will be released when they are available, the agency said.
Additionally, the agency shared that the OPR and the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the incident, while The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the Nogales Police Department were notified.
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