PHOENIX — Authorities in Arizona are looking for an 11-year-old girl with leukemia who is at risk of a deadly infection after her parents inexplicably took her out of a Phoenix hospital last week.
The girl, Emily, had been receiving chemotherapy at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for about a month, Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said Monday.
An infection forced doctors to amputate her right arm. The girl’s mother removed a tube that delivered medication to the girl’s heart, changed her clothes, and walked her out of the hospital Wednesday night.
“If she contracts an infection, it really could just be a matter of days that could result in the young girl’s death,” Martos said. “It’s pretty serious.”
Authorities had been stymied by health privacy laws that kept them from releasing the parents’ names, but police said Monday that U.S. Border Patrol stopped the girl’s father, Luis Bracamontes, 46, as he crossed into Arizona from Mexico over the weekend.
Martos said the man provided no clues to the girl’s whereabouts and denied having any involvement in removing her from the hospital. Police released his name, along with that of the girl’s mother, Norma Bracamontes, 35, in hopes it will help locate the child.
Martos says criminal negligence charges could be sought against her, but their first priority is getting the child back to the hospital.
He said the family lives a “nomadic” life without a permanent residence, but they have relatives in Arizona, California and Mexico, none of whom have been able to provide police with information about their whereabouts.
The girl’s father is a Mexican citizen with a U.S. resident alien identification card. The child and her mother are U.S. citizens, Martos said.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Jane Walton declined comment, citing health privacy laws.