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Migrant Child Who Died in U.S. Custody Received Medical Attention, Officials Say

Girl's mom previously said agents had ignored her calls for help.

Harlingen Station Border PatrolCredit: Google MapsGoogle Maps

An eight-year-old girl who recently died in U.S. Border Patrol custody requested -- and was given -- medical help three times on the day she died, according to immigration officials. The child died last week in Texas after suffering from an apparent seizure and complaining of stomach issues.

The girl's mother had previously told the Associated Press that agents repeatedly ignored her pleas to hospitalize her daughter, who had sickle-cell anemia and a history of heart problems. 

"She cried and begged for her life, and they ignored her. They didn't do anything for her," Mabel Alvarez Benedicks, said in an interview with the AP on Friday. Benedicks shared that her daughter, Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez, was born with congenital heart disease.

"I felt like they didn't believe me," Benedicks said.

According to a statement from U.S. Border Patrol, the family was in custody at the Harlingen Station when medical services were called to take the child to the hospital. Officials said that they were aware of Anadith's medical history when personnel began treating her for flu symptoms four days before her death on May 17.

An updated statement from CBP on Sunday noted that Anadith had first voiced complaints of abdominal pain, nasal congestion, and cough on May 14. She was given over-the-counter pain and fever relievers after a test showed she had influenza. 

An internal investigation into the incident is being conducted, CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said, according to the AP.

"We must ensure that medically fragile individuals receive the best possible care and spend the minimum amount of time possible in CBP custody," Miller said, adding that the agency is "deeply saddened" by the girl's "tragic death.”

The incident was the second time in two weeks that a child migrant died while in U.S. custody.

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