An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

  1. Home
  2. Newsroom
  3. National Media Release
  4. Migrant child dies after he's located in medical distress near Mesa, Arizona

Migrant child dies after he's located in medical distress near Mesa, Arizona

Release Date
Fri, 06/30/2023

On June 15, 2023, at approximately 9:40 p.m., the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office patched over a 911 distress call to US Border Patrol Tucson Sector. The 911 call was from a female migrant and approximate GPS coordinates to the caller's location were provided. The female migrant advised agents she was traveling with her two minor children and stated her 9-year-old son was experiencing seizures. USBP Tucson Sector verified their location, with the GPS coordinates provided, and immediately informed the USBP Nogales Station the family unit was within their area of responsibility. Nogales agents were dispatched to locate the family unit. The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office requested Tubac Fire Department emergency medical services to respond to the location at approximately 9:41 p.m.

USBP Tucson Sector requested assistance from the National Guard Air Unit, via radio at approximately 9:55 p.m. The National Guard Air Unit located the family unit at the coordinates provided at approximately 10:01 p.m. The National Guard Air Unit provided agents with updated GPS coordinates to their location at approximately 10:02 p.m. Tubac Fire Department EMS arrived in the area at approximately 10:05 p.m. Tubac Fire Department EMS personnel, who were on foot, located the family unit at approximately 10:17 p.m. and conducted a quick trauma assessment of the child which consisted of checking for broken bones and bleeding. Tubac Fire Department EMS picked the child up and began walking him toward an ambulance along with a Border Patrol agent who had arrived on foot.

As they continued carrying the child, another agent who was operating an all-terrain vehicle located them at approximately 10:31 p.m. The agent assisted Tubac Fire Department personnel by transporting the 9-year-old to the ambulance via ATV, while a fire department EMT held the child. Approximately ten minutes later they arrived at the ambulance where fire department paramedics and EMTs began medical treatment on the child by administering intravenous fluids. Tubac Fire Department medical personnel transported him to Northwest Medical Center in Sahuarita, Ariz. at approximately 10:54 p.m., where agents established hospital watch.

The child was life flighted to Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz. on June 16, 2023 at approximately 2:45 p.m. Medical Center personnel diagnosed the child with multi-organ failure and placed him on life support while USBP maintained hospital watch. USBP completed administrative processing of the female migrant and her children at approximately 7:24 p.m. Agents advised medical center staff she and her children were no longer in USBP custody.

CBP Office of Professional Responsibility special agents interviewed the female migrant on June 16, 2023. The female migrant stated she and her sons crossed into the United States with another unknown male migrant on June 15, 2023, at approximately 2:30 a.m. The female migrant stated her son did not have prior existing medical issues and believed the heat contributed to his medical complications during their walk. The female migrant decided to call 911 from her cell phone at approximately 9:30 p.m., due to her son’s condition and the fact they had been without fluids for an hour and a half. After approximately 20 minutes, the female migrant saw a helicopter that shined a light on them to help find their location. The female migrant recalled the area being inaccessible to motor vehicles and recalled Border Patrol agents arriving on ATVs. The female migrant stated an agent on an ATV then transported her son to an ambulance, via ATV. The female migrant then walked, approximately 15 minutes, with her other son to a USBP transport van where they were given water and transported to Northwest Medical Center.

Banner Desert Medical Center personnel advised CBP's OPR on June 17, 2023 at approximately 5:43 p.m. that the child succumbed to his medical complications and was pronounced deceased at 8:44 p.m.

Maricopa Medical Examiner’s Office advised on June 19, 2023 an autopsy would not be performed. 

This incident is under review by CBP's OPR. The Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General was also notified.

Last Modified: Jan 04, 2024