Family argues CBP's story on what happened to 7-year-old Guatemalan girl isn't true
The father of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl is being housed by an organization that often immigrants here in the borderland.
CBS 4 On Your Side digs deeper, finding out the family’s side of the story of what happened to this little girl.
Her name is Jakelin Caal Maquin. Today, Annunciation House speaks on Jakelin’s family’s behalf. It argues U.S. Customs and Border Protections story of how Jakelin died isn’t true.
"The family of Jakelin Caal Maquin is still coping with their profound loss,” said Director of Annunciation House, Ruben Garcia. Garcia reads these words from a statement from Jakelin’s family. The statement has been written by Jakelin’s family’s attorneys.
A photo of 7-year-old Jakelin has been released, and shared. In this photo, she poses with a slight smile, looking directly at the camera.
"The death of a child is the most painful experience that a parent or family can endure,” said Garcia, as he continued to read the statement.
These words are read allowed for the first time publicly.
“Annunciation house received a call on the 8th of December, asking us if we would be willing to receive a single male and provide hospitality to them,” said Garcia.
Garcia told CBS 4, they took in Jakelin's dad on December 9th. He said they knew Jakelin had died, but not the circumstances.
"I simply assumed that this was a humanitarian-parole type situation where he was a father that had a daughter some place in the U.S., [and that] the daughter had died,” said Garcia.
We previously reported that CBP records say Jakelin hadn't had food of water for several days before she died.
In the statement released to CBS 4 on Saturday, it argues Jakelin had ‘not been crossing the dessert for days' and that Jakelin wasn't lacking food or water before approaching the border.
"She turned seven on the 3rd of December,” said Garcia.
Garcia said Jakelin turned seven, just days before dying in CBP custody. The statement also reveals CBP asked Jakelin's father to sign documents in English.
Both Jakelin and her father’s first language is a native one--Q'eqchi'. Their second language is Spanish. And according to the statement neither Jakelin nor her father speak English.
The statement also said no medical records have been released to the father.
"According to CBP, when the father was apprehended and detained, they gave the number of 165 of other individuals detained together,” said Garcia.
Garcia said Jakelin and her dad, sought asylum from CBP as soon as they crossed.
The annunciation house is calling for a transparent, neutral investigation of Jakelin's death.
CBS 4 was told Jakelin's body has been taken from El Paso, to Laredo. An organization in Guatemala has taken responsibility for transporting Jakelin.