A six-year-old girl from India died of heat stroke in an Arizona desert after her mother left her with other migrants to go in search of water, a medical examiner and U.S. Border Patrol said on Friday.
The girl, Gurupreet Kaur, soon to celebrate her seventh birthday, was found by US Border Patrol west of Lukeville, Arizona on Wednesday, when temperatures reached a high of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius).
The girl’s death, the second recorded fatality of a migrant child this year in Arizona’s southern deserts.
An increasing number of Indian nationals are entering the United States from Mexico, according to immigration officials. They are among thousands of Africans and Asian migrants making the arduous journey, led by smuggling cartels.
The girl and her mother were among a group of five Indian nationals dropped off by smugglers in a remote border area at 10 am on Tuesday, 27 km west of Lukeville, a US border town 80 km southwest of Tucson.
After walking some way, the girl’s mother and another woman went in search of water, leaving her daughter with another woman and her child.
The mother and the other woman wandered in the rugged Sonoran desert wilderness for 22 hours before being found by a US Border Patrol agent who tracked their footprints. Four hours later, Border Patrol agents found the body of the deceased girl a1.6 km from the border.
Agents tracked the remaining woman and her 8-year-old daughter into Mexico, before the mother and child re-entered the United States and surrendered to Border Patrol.
The deceased girl died of hyperthermia and her death was ruled an accident, said Greg Hess, PCOME chief medical officer.