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Girl who died fled intensely poor Guatemalan village| The Sacramento Bee Girl who died fled intensely poor Guatemalan village| The Sacramento Bee

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Jakelin Caal Maquin had received her first pair of shoes several weeks ago, when her father said they would set out together for the United States, thousands of miles from her impoverished Guatemalan village.
Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin received her first pair of shoes several weeks ago, when her father said they would set out together for the United States, thousands of miles from this small indigenous community in Guatemala where she spent her days plodding through mud and surrounded by coconut trees.
The 7-year-old was excited about the possibility of a new life in another country, relatives said Saturday. Maybe she would get her first toy, or learn to read and write.
Instead she died in a Texas hospital two days after being taken into custody by U. S. Border Patrol agents in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert.
The death has drawn attention to the increasingly perilous routes that Central American migrants traverse to reach the U. S., where some plan to apply for asylum, and to the way migrants are treated once in custody. Jakelin’s family says her father paid a human smuggler to sneak them across the border; asylum wasn’t the plan.
Sadness hangs in the air outside the tiny wooden house with a straw roof, dirt floors, a few bedsheets and a fire pit for cooking where Jakelin used to sleep with her parents and three siblings. The brothers are barefoot, their feet caked with mud and their clothes in tatters. A heart constructed out of wood and wrapped in plastic announces Jakelin’s death.
Grandfather Domingo Caal said the family got by on $5 a day earned harvesting corn and beans. But it wasn’t enough. Jakelin’s father Nery Caal decided to migrate with his favorite child to earn money he could send back home.

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