Autopsy: Dead Guatemalan Boy Had Influenza

Dec 28, 2018
11:01 AM

This December 12, 2018 photo provided by Catarina Gómez on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018, shows her half-brother Felipe Gómez Alonzo, 8, near her home in Yalambojoch, Guatemala. (Catarina Gómez via AP)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The latest on an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody (all times local):

10:30pm, December 27

New Mexico authorities say an autopsy performed on the 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in U.S. custody shows he had the flu.

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said in a statement late Thursday that more tests need to be done before a cause of death can be determined for Felipe Gómez Alonzo.

“The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator has performed an autopsy on Felipe Gómez-Alonzo,” the statement read. “Results of nasal and lung swabs have tested positive for influenza B. While this result indicates that the child had influenza, determining an accurate cause of death requires further evaluation of other laboratory specimens and interpreting the findings in the context of the symptoms and autopsy findings. As always, the office is focused on our mission of properly investigating deaths to serve the living. We appreciate the public’s understanding that this investigation must not be rushed to ensure thorough observations and accurate conclusions about how this child died. We extend our condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Authorities said Gómez Alonzo died at a New Mexico hospital after suffering coughing, vomiting and a fever. Another Guatemalan child, 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, died in U.S. custody on December 8. Both deaths are under investigation.

11am, December 27

The father of Felipe Gómez Alonzo took his son to the border after hearing rumors that parents and their children would be allowed to migrate to United States.

That’s according to the boy’s stepsister, who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday, two days after the boy’s death.

Catarina Gómez Lucas, the boy’s 21-year-old stepsister, would not say who spread the rumors or who transported the father and son to the border. They came from a poor community of people who fled Guatemala during that country’s civil war.

Latino Rebels added the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator’s full statement to this AP story.