Autopsy Report Released for Migrant Teen Death in BP Custody
WESLACO - The teenager who died while in Border Patrol custody suffered from a fatal combination of medical conditions, according to his autopsy report.
The 16-year-old teen from Guatemala, Carlos Hernández Vasquez had a strong strain of the flu in his system when he died.
He may have also had another syndrome that when paired with the flu would have been quickly lethal.
CHANNEL FIVE NEWS worked with a medical professional to look over the autopsy report prepared in Hidalgo County.
The report included a timeline of events provided by Border Patrol.
The teen had a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit and congestion on May 19, 2019.
He tested positive for influenza A and was given Tamiflu.
He ate around midnight the next day.
Video from the holding cell showed the teen using the restroom frequently.
His body was found in the restroom later around 6 in the morning. He had been in custody for a week.
The autopsy was performed the next day.
The medical examiner found Hernandez Vasquez died of Influenza A 2009 H1N1 respiratory infection complicated by other bacterial infections including pneumonia.
The autopsy revealed significant damage in his lungs.
They were swollen and bruised, likely from the pneumonia.
There was also damage in the part of the lungs that help process air.
Blood cultures also confirmed he had staph and a strep infection.
They also found something called hemophagocytosis.
Its diagnosis is based on 8 criteria; his body met two of the three that can be tested after death.
The other five would have to be tested prior to the death.
This is why that diagnosis is important: The autopsy report states:
“Hemophagocytosis has been reported in the literature in autopsy cases with Influenza A 2009 H1N1 infections and may be rapidly fatal, even with appropriate treatment.”
That would’ve made the Tamiflu useless.
The medical professional we spoke to says infections can develop in a matter of days, but normally, a 16-year-old would not die from the flu or pneumonia if they are healthy.
But, several factors could have compromised his strength going into that infection.