Migrant teen dies in US custody, officials confirm

The teen reportedly suffered from epilepsy.

Published: May 14, 2023 3:08pm

A 17-year-old Honduran unaccompanied migrant died in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, officials confirmed. 

The teenager, Angel Eduardo Maradiaga Espinoza, died while in a shelter located in Safety Harbor, Florida, Honduras Foreign Minister Enrique Reina said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre said Friday that the government opened a medical investigation into the minor's death on May 10. "It’s deeply saddening to hear. And we are certainly aware of the tragic loss," she said.

Health and Human Services, which oversees long term housing facilities for unaccompanied minors, said it is "deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our heart goes out to the family, with whom we are in touch," Politico reported.

Maradiaga Espinoza suffered from epilepsy since he was a child but did not show serious signs before he went to the United States, his mother, Norma Saraí Espinoza Maradiaga, told The Associated Press.

Maradiaga Espinoza left from Honduras on April 25 and crossed into the U.S. days later. He was referred to Health and Human Services on May 5, his mother also said. 

The teen had hoped to reunite with his father, who traveled to the United States years ago, so he could work to support his family still in Honduras, his mother added.

His death comes as record numbers of illegal migrants are crossing into the United States with the end of the pandemic-era public health measure Title 42.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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