8-year-old Congolese refugee dies after arriving in Chicago

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CHICAGO — Authorities are trying to determine what caused an 8-year-old refugee from Congo to die not long after his arrival in Chicago.

The boy, identified as David Dieme, arrived at O’Hare International Airport from Dubai on Tuesday with his father and several other children. The group was planning to fly on to Texas when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer noticed that David was unresponsive.

Authorities say the boy was sick before boarding the flight to the U.S. but that he reported no symptoms on the plane. He was examined by Centers of Disease Control and Prevention personnel before being taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy Wednesday. Results are pending.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released the following statement:

On Tuesday October 4 at approximately 4:30pm, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers encountered a refugee family immigrating into the United States at Chicago O’Hare International Airport from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After clearing all paperwork with CBP the family was being escorted to their next flight when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer noticed one of the children, an eight year old boy, become unresponsive. Emergency Medical Services was immediately contacted and arrived at the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) in Terminal Five within minutes. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is deeply saddened to report that the child, was transferred to a local hospital where he later passed away. The Cook County Medical Examiner is currently gathering additional information at this time. No further information is available at this time.