Story of migrant Guatemalan girl resonates with North Texas Latino leader

The family of a 7-year-old migrant girl, who died after crossing the U.S. Border, disputes the government's version of events.

The Department of Homeland Security says the girl had not eaten and was severely dehydrated, but an attorney for the family now says that is not true.

The discrepancy highlights communication problems along the border and it has also sparked discussion about why a father would bring his young daughter on a high-risk 2,000-mile journey from Guatemala.

The story resonates for local teacher Lilyan Prado Carrillo.

“All I kept looking at was her face, said 7-year-old Guatemalan girl dies. Very personal,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo made the same journey with her father when she was four.

“And it’s hard and it’s scary you don’t know who’s around you and as a little girl, as a father knowing how much my dad loved me how he wanted me to have opportunity for a better life, can’t imagine how scared he was to put his daughter in that situation,” Carillo said.

She says for the majority of people in Guatemala there is danger, no food and inescapable poverty.

“If this is option B and it’s so dangerous, my goodness what is option A,” Carrillo said.

Carrillo is a bilingual specialist at a Title One school and newly elected president of LULAC in Denton.

“I learned English. I went to school, got to junior college, to college I got my Master’s degrees, I was an intern in Washington DC. From a little girl who crossed the river on the shoulders of a coyote to an intern in DC,” Carrillo said.

Those are dreams that might one day have shined in a little girl’s eyes.

“We have a desire to do something with our life, a desire to contribute, have a desire to be safe, all the basic desires any person should have. When my dad saw me when I was 4-years-old and decided to come to the United States, that’s what he wanted for me,” Carrillo said.

The family of the 7-year-old girl is urging authorities to conduct an "objective and thorough" investigation into the death and to determine whether officials met standards for the arrest and custody of children.