Unaccompanied Migrant Boy, 16, Dies in U.S. Custody in Texas After Experiencing 'Fever, Chills and Headache'

A 16-year-old unaccompanied Guatemalan migrant boy died in a Texas hospital in U.S. custody earlier this week after he "became noticeably ill with symptons including "fever, chills and a headache," according to government officials.

Following "several days of intensive care" at a children's hospital, the boy, who has not yet been identified, passed away from his illness on Tuesday.

On April 19, the teenager was caught attempting to cross the border in the El Paso, Texas, region by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Shortly after, the child was transported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement's (ORR) shelter in Brownsville, Texas, Southwest Key Casa Padre, the government agency tasked with holding unaccompanied migrant children, reported Buzzfeed News on Wednesday.

ICE officials did not notice any health concerns when they transported him to the Brownsville facility, Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer said in a statement, according to NBC News. "No health concerns were observed" upon the boy's arrival at the shelter and "the minor did not note any health concerns," she said, adding that he fell "noticeably ill" the morning after arriving, with symptoms including "fever, chills and a headache."

When shelter officials noticed the child's illness, he was immediately transported to a hospital emergency room for treatment, before being released back to the facility later in the day. Authorities noticed that the boy's condition did not improve the next day, on April 22, which prompted them to call an ambulance.

"Later that day the minor was transferred to a children's hospital in Texas and was treated for several days in the hospital's intensive care unit," Stauffer said. "Following several days of intensive care, the minor passed away at the hospital on April 30, 2019."

While the boy was being treated in the Texas hospital, his brother and Guatemalan consulate officials were permitted to visit him. Although officials attempted to secure humanitarian visas for his parents as well, they were unable to travel due to health reasons related to their age, though they were provided regular updates on their son's condition.

An ORR investigation into the child's death is currently ongoing. The cause of his death is yet to be released.

The 16-year-old's passing on Tuesday marks the third high-profile death of an unaccompanied child in U.S. custody since December last year, when Felipe Alonzo Gomez, 8, and Jakelin Caal, 7, passed away while under the custody of Border Patrol officials.

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File photo: Migrant children from different Latin American stand near rows of cots inside the Casa del Refugiado, or The House of Refugee, a new centre opened by the Annunciation House to help the large flow of migrants being released by the United States Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Texas on April 24, 2019. A 16-year-old unaccompanied boy died in U.S. custody in Texas on Tuesday. Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images
Unaccompanied Migrant Boy, 16, Dies in U.S. Custody in Texas After Experiencing 'Fever, Chills and Headache' | U.S.