A 5-year-old migrant died of sepsis in a Chicago shelter


A 5-year-old boy who fell ill in a city-run migrant shelter in December died of sepsis and a bacterial infection, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Jean Carlos Martinez Rivero, died Dec. 17 of sepsis and streptococcus pyogenes, a bacterial infection that can cause strep throat, pathologists at the medical examiner’s office concluded in a report issued late this week.

Coronavirus, adenovirus and rhinovirus infections were listed as secondary causes of death.

Mayor Brandon Johnson on Saturday expressed condolences to Jean Carlos’ family in a statement that also defended the care given to migrants in shelters, saying residents are offered “comprehensive medical examinations and care.”

“The City of Chicago coordinates medical screenings for all shelter residents, weekly on-site
provider support, on-site vaccination events for COVID, varicella, and flu, and partnerships
with a network of community health centers for other healthcare needs,” the statement said.

Jean Carlos had been sick for a couple of days prior to his death, his parents told police. The family had been outside begging for money earlier that day, but came home after the 5-year-old had vomited.

At the shelter, his lips turned purple, his parents told police. The boy’s family members told police that staff had said the discoloration was “probably because of the cold.”

But after the boy complained that his stomach hurt and his eyes rolled to the back of his head, staff began performing chest compressions on him and called for an ambulance. The boy was pronounced dead at Comer Children’s Hospital.

According to the city, the Martinez Rivero family arrived in Chicago on Nov. 30, and had been staying at the warehouse at 2241 S. Halsted St. since they arrived. At the time of the boy’s death, the warehouse housed several thousand migrants.

The city is housing 12,637 migrants in 26 shelters as of Saturday morning. Since June 2023, more than 35,000 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, have arrived in Chicago.



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