SAN ANTONIO SECORTEZ, Guatemala – The tiny white coffin with the body of the seven-year-old Guatemalan girl, who died in a US prison, ended Monday morning in a dusty hamlet 220 miles north of the capital.
The villagers cried and watched curiously as the coffin arrived at Sanelino Secortez, the home of the grandparents of Jakelin Caal, where relatives had built a modest wooden altar flooded with vases and flowers, the child and the handwritten Message: "We miss you."
The girl's mother, Claudia Maquin, closed her eyes and groaned deeply as she was confronted with her daughter's body. When the shocking reality set in, she covered her face and cried.
Behind the house, dozens of women prepared tamales and beans to feed the mourners.
Jakelin's death earlier this month while in US custody Border Patrol was a tragic reminder of the fate of Central American migrants as they sought to seek asylum in the United States on their way through Mexico and came when the Americans deeply are split as far as the immigration of US President Donald Trump is concerned.
The tragic journey of the child began and ended in the village of about 420 people without paved roads, running water or electricity. Its inhabitants say that crop yields and the lack of work have forced many people to emigrate in recent years.
Domingo Caal, the girl's grandfather, told The Associated Press that the family could not afford to travel to the capital to meet the city's casket when it landed in Guatemala's capital. Nearby communities donated money and grain to the grieving family as the casket passed through other villages before they reached their destination.
The girl and her father, Nery Gilberto Caal Cuz, had been traveling with a group of 163 arrested migrants on December 6 near a New Mexico border post. The father signed an English language form saying that Jakelin was in good health. However, it was unclear whether he had understood what was written on the form. about 90 minutes away. According to a declaration on Customs and Border Patrol, Jakelin's temperature had reached 40.9 degrees Celsius (105.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Paramedics had to revive her.
She was flown to a hospital in El Paso, Texas, where she died the next day.
The spokeswoman for the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry, Marta Larra, said the ministry sent a diplomatic note to the US The US State Department asks him to monitor the case and determine the cause of death. Domingo Caal said his son has a court date in the United States on January 3 to determine his migration status.
Associated Press Writer Sonny Figueroa in Guatemala City, Guatemala, contributed to the report.