8-Year-Old Who Died In Border Patrol Custody Was Denied Multiple Hospitalization Requests
Immigrants wait to be transported and processed by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border on May 12, 2023 in El Paso, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore/Getty Images

A nurse looking after an 8-year-old immigrant girl who died in Border Patrol custody last month denied multiple requests to take the girl to a hospital.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a statement Thursday on some preliminary findings in its investigation into the death of Anadith Tanay Reyes Alvarez of Panama. Reyes Alvarez died last month after days of serious illness, a fever of nearly 105 degrees, and appearing to suffer a seizure, according to CBP.

The investigation is still ongoing, and the facts revealed in the initial report are subject to change, the agency noted.

Border Patrol kept Reyes Alvarez and her family in custody for about a week until the 8-year-old’s death on May 17. During that time, Reyes Alvarez was overseen by contracted medical workers who administered a number of treatments to the ailing child, but did not send her to a hospital until her last day when she appeared to have a seizure and became unresponsive.

Reyes Alvarez “suffered from sickle cell anemia” and “had a history of congenital heart disease.” The medical workers who oversaw her were not aware and were never made aware of her conditions, according to CBP.

On multiple occasions, Reyes Alvarez’s mother requested the child be taken to a hospital for treatment.

“During the day on May 17, the girl was seen by a nurse practitioner on four occasions after complaining of a stomachache, nausea, and difficulty breathing. The contracted nurse practitioner reported checking the girl’s heart rate and blood oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter during each visit with normal findings, and administering Ondansetron (Zofran) for nausea at 9:33 a.m.,” CBP reported about events on the day of the child’s death.

“The nurse practitioner also reported denying three or four requests from the girl’s mother for an ambulance to be called or for her to be taken to the hospital,” the report added. “Another contracted medical employee reported having brought a pile of documents and a bottle of folic acid tablets from the family’s property to the nurse practitioner at approximately 10:30 a.m. The nurse practitioner declined to review the papers but did agree to the mother’s request to administer one folic acid tablet to her daughter.”


Reyes Alvarez died a week after the U.S. southern border experienced historic numbers of people coming across ahead of the official end of Title 42 on May 11. The number of immigrants entering the U.S. illegally in the week before Title 42’s end exceeded well over 10,000 on multiple days. The flood packed federal facilities and border communities attempting to care for the migrants.

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