Family of second migrant child dead in Border Patrol custody speaks out

New Mexico News

The family of the 8-year-old boy who died in Border Patrol custody on Christmas eve is speaking out. 

Felipe Gomez-Alonzo’s family claims he wasn’t sick when he left Guatemala with his dad in hopes of a better life in the United States. The journey of hope, turned to sorrow.

“I could never have imagined this,” said Catarina Alonzo, Felipe’s mother.

It was Christmas Day when Catarina Alonzo got the call no mother ever wants to receive. Her 8-year-old son Felipe died at a New Mexico hospital from what border patrol officials are calling the flu.

“He was happy when he left,” Catarina Alonzo said. “He called me and said he was at the border and he was having chicken for dinner, I never imagined this.”

The family says Felipe and his father Agustin would reassure them of their good health and high spirits.

“When he left, he said: ‘I am a little young now, but when I arrive there (United States) I am going to grow up, I will study and look for a job and I am going to send you money and buy clothes for my mom,” said Catarina Gomez, Felipe’s older sister.

Big dreams that would never be fulfilled. The father-son duo was apprehended by border patrol in El Paso on Dec. 18. However, on Christmas Eve, Felipe was rushed to an Alamogordo hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Felipe is the second child to die in U.S. Border Patrol custody in just weeks. Border Patrol reports that agents logged 23 welfare checks of Felipe and Agustin up to the boy’s passing.

Now, the Alonzo family wants Felipe’s body back in their remote Guatemalan village.

“We are very sad because my little brother passed away, we are only expecting for them to return his body soon, so we can bury him here,” Gomez said.

The boy’s autopsy, conducted by the Office of the Medical Investigator, determined Felipe did had the flu but officials say further evaluations will be conducted to determine a cause of death.

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