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Father & Daughter Die in The Rio Grande River Near Eagle Pass

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This incident is under review by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office and CBP OPR. USCBP Image for illustration purposes
This incident is under review by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office and CBP OPR. USCBP Image for illustration purposes
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On Tuesday, October 24, 2023, at approximately 9:44 a.m., a U.S. Border Patrol camera operator observed a large group of what was later confirmed to be undocumented noncitizens crossing the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass, Texas. Border Patrol agents from the Eagle Pass South Border Patrol Station were dispatched to the area. This included an Eagle Pass South Station Marine Boat Unit which was approximately two miles downriver from the location. The marine boat unit arrived in the area at approximately 9:56 a.m.

Upon arrival, Border Patrol agents operating the airboat were alerted by two individuals crossing the river of others in distress. Agents operating the airboat subsequently located two individuals floating face down in the water, and immediately requested emergency medical services via service radio.

The agents turned the boat around and approached the floating individuals. Agents recovered a juvenile female and adult male from the water and placed them onboard the airboat. The two individuals were later identified as citizens of Colombia and as father and daughter.

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Agents observed both individuals were unresponsive, had pale skin, were not breathing, did not have a pulse, and were cool to the touch. Agents immediately began performing chest compressions on both individuals until the airboat reached the U.S. side of the river. Agents removed both individuals from the airboat and placed them on land, where agents continued cardiopulmonary resuscitation and placed an automated external defibrillator on the juvenile female.

Agents requested Emergency Medical Services (EMS) via service radio at approximately 9:48 a.m. and continued life saving measures on both individuals. Eagle Pass Fire Department EMS arrived on scene at approximately 10:01 a.m. EMS took over medical care of both individuals at approximately 10:05 a.m. Agents on scene advised the EMS personnel that a shock had not been administered.

At approximately 10:25 a.m., EMS determined the man was not responding to life-saving efforts. EMS telephonically contacted a physician at Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center and halted resuscitation efforts. A local Justice of the Peace pronounced the man deceased at approximately 12:16 p.m.

At approximately 10:28 a.m., EMS transported the juvenile female to the Medical Center for further medical treatment. At approximately 10:45 a.m., the juvenile female arrived at the Medical Center in critical condition. Border Patrol established hospital watch shortly thereafter. At approximately 1:12 p.m., the juvenile female was discharged from Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center and transferred by air ambulance to Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, and arrived at the hospital and admitted into the intensive care unit at approximately 3:01 p.m. The juvenile female was reportedly unresponsive, intubated, on a ventilator, and showed minimal neurological responsiveness.

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Border Patrol agents did not accompany the juvenile female to the hospital but later arrived at the hospital with the juvenile female’s mother. Agents completed administrative processing for both individuals and released them from custody at approximately 11:18 p.m.

On October 25, Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility special agents interviewed the juvenile female’s mother. The mother stated she attempted to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States with her husband, her two children, and approximately twenty other individuals. The group held hands as they waded across the river when her husband and two children were swept away by the strong current. The mother and her son made it to the U.S. side of the river and could see the juvenile female floating face down in the river. While the mother reported seeing a boat approach the area, she did not witness the actual rescue.

On November 7, CBP OPR agents contacted the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office and were advised that the juvenile female had succumbed to her medical condition and was pronounced deceased on October 29, 2023, at 11:25 a.m. The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office stated an autopsy would be conducted. The results of the autopsy will be furnished by that office when available.

This incident is under review by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office and CBP OPR. The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General was notified.

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