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Statement on 32-year-old Guatemalan woman found unresponsive at the base of border barrier near Tornillo, Texas, on March 17

Release Date
Wed, 03/30/2022
El Paso Sector

On March 17, 2022, at approximately 8:19 p.m., a U.S. Border Patrol agent operating a mobile video surveillance system observed a group of six suspected undocumented migrants climbing the international border barrier approximately two miles northwest of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s port of entry in Tornillo, Texas.

Border Patrol agents responded to the area and encountered an unresponsive woman lying on the ground on the north side of the international border barrier. The woman, a 32-year-old citizen of Guatemala, suffered significant injuries from an apparent fall from the international border barrier. Border Patrol agents immediately contacted Border Patrol Sector El Paso, Texas, and requested emergency medical services. The Border Patrol did not have a certified emergency medical technician on duty at the time of the incident.

A short time later, emergency medical specialists from both Fabens Fire and Rescue and Life Ambulance arrived on scene. EMS personnel evaluated the woman and Life Ambulance transported her to Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas.

Del Sol Medical Center medical personnel informed a Border Patrol agent the woman was pregnant, and the fetus was deceased, at approximately 10:03 p.m. The deceased fetus was delivered at approximately 12:32 p.m. on March 18. The woman, who was in critical condition with multiple severe injuries, was released from CBP custody under prosecutorial discretion later that day but remained in Del Sol Medical Center.

Medical personnel declared the woman brain dead on March 20. The woman remained on life support pending a medical decision by her family.

Medical center personnel removed the woman from life support on March 25, and she succumbed to her injuries.

This incident is being reviewed by the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was notified.

Last Modified: Jan 04, 2024