House lawmakers grilled acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan Wednesday about the deaths of five migrant children in US custody in recent months—but it later emerged that the real number was six. In a previously unreported case, a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador with a history of heart defects died in US custody on Sept. 29 last year, NBC reports. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Mark Weber confirmed that the girl, who was taken into custody in Texas in March of 2018, died of fever and respiratory distress at a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Weber said the girl was in a "medically fragile" state when she arrived at a facility in San Antonio and ended up in a "comatose state" after complications from a surgery.
Weber said the girl was sent to a palliative care facility in Phoenix then moved to the Nebraska facility three days before her death to be closer to relatives. US Rep, Joaquin Castro accuses the administration of covering up the death. "I have not seen any indication that the Trump administration disclosed the death of this young girl to the public or even to Congress," the Democrat tells CBS. "And if that's the case, they covered up her death for eight months, even though we were actively asking the question about whether any child had died or been seriously injured. We began asking that question last fall." Officials say the girl was the first migrant child to die in US custody since 2010. (On Monday, a 16-year-old from Guatemala died at a Border Patrol station in Texas.)