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Home / US / Almost a year after the death of a 10-year-old in US custody, her father remembers the last time he saw her alive

Almost a year after the death of a 10-year-old in US custody, her father remembers the last time he saw her alive



Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle died in September in Nebraska after spending months in the custody of the Ministry of Health and Human Services. Her death, however, was announced only last week.

The young girl's concrete grave is on a hill surrounded by trees, with a turquoise cross in silver letters bearing her name and the date she was laid to rest.

Her father placed white and green paper flowers on the tomb visited on the day CNN. He remembered the last time he had seen his daughter alive: he talked to her via video chat while she was in a hospital in Nebraska.

Darlyn was encountered by Border Patrol on March 1

, 2018, a few miles west of Hidalgo, Texas. She complained of chest pain and was sent to HHS three days later, where she remained for about seven months. Darlyn has been treated in various hospitals for a congenital heart defect – including in San Antonio, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona.

HHS spokesman Mark Weber told CNN Darlyn about surgical complications that put her in a comatose state. She was taken to a nursing home in Phoenix and later to the Children's Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, where she died of fever and respiratory distress on September 29. [10] The mother of the 10-year-old, who died in US custody, says the daughter was born with a heart murmur.

Valle was on the phone with his daughter and longed for a sign of life.

"Give me a signal, I want you to know that you can hear me, I want you to know that you see me," he told Darlyn.

"She tried four times and tried to speak," he said. "And that was it."

& # 39; I could have asked you to stay & # 39;

The young girl had traveled to the US to find her mother, who had moved to work from El Salvador, and cared for her three daughters.

  An American customs and border guard identified the 10-year-old girl from El Salvador, who died in HHS detention in September 2018, as Darlyn Cristabel Cordova-Valle.

Darlyn stayed behind with her aunt, but nine years later Darlyn – like so many Central American children currently flocking to the southern border of the US – made her way to reunite her mother in the US.

The girl drove four days with acquaintances from El Salvador to the border, said her mother.

Her mother, now living in Omaha, Nebraska, told CNN that Darlyn was only one year old when she left her with her aunt, Jesus Valle. The two live in a modest house on a lush hill – in a town near the graveyard where the child was buried.

"She was like a daughter to me," said Jesus Valle. "I loved her so much."

Surrounded by Darlyn's clothes and toys, her aunt wonders what it could have been if Darlyn stayed in El Salvador.

"When she left, I would have asked her but you can stay. " Mother took her back and I did not want to stop her from being with her mother, "said Jesus Valle.

Merlin Delcid from CNN en Español reported from El Salvador to CNN's Jamie Ehrlich, Kate Sullivan, Madeline Holcombe and Dianne Gallagher contribute to this report.


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