A 13-year-old immigrant girl from Honduras was disconnected from life support at a New York City hospital Thursday evening, just two weeks after she attempted to end her life because President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies that kept her away from her detained dad.
On July 3 after midnight, Heydi Gámez García was found hanging from her bedroom closet with a phone-charging cable tied around her neck by her aunt, Zoila Gámez, wanted to cheer her up with a snack and a refreshment.
She was declared brain dead a week later.
The young girl’s father, Manuel Gámez, 34, received a special parole permit from U.S. immigration officials last week after he was arrested for illegally crossing the border in June.
The distraught parent arrived last Saturday at Newark International Airport to be with his daughter and said he spent his last days with her reading her the bible and singing her biblical hymns.
‘And I know she listened to me because her face changed and there were tears in her eyes,’ Manuel told reporters Thursday.
‘We are going to donate the organs so that she can live through other people. I don’t want her to remember that way in that bed in a coma, connected to those hoses, to that machine. I want to imagine her running, playing.’
Manuel Gámez looks over his daughter Heydi Gámez García, who attempted to end her life July 3. On Thursday, the Honduran father gave doctors at a New York City hospital the approval to disconnect her from life support after she had been declared brain dead
Heydi was granted asylum in June 2016, a year after she entered the United States
Manuel Gámez told DailyMail ‘the hardest moments are coming’ just hours before he made the difficult decision of unplugging his daughter from life support
Heydi arrived in the United States as a nine-year-old in the summer of 2015, a year after Manuel had to travel back to his hometown of El Progreso after his father, who along with Manuel’s mother were raising the child, was murdered in June 2014 by gang members who want him to hand over his SUV.
Manuel’s mother, who was caring for Heydi while he lived and worked in New York as an undocumented immigrant, succumbed to a battle with diabetes in 2015 , which drove him to making the decision of sending Heydi and his sister Zoila, who at the time was underage, to live with his four other siblings in New York, because he considered their Central American nation to be too dangerous a place for the girls to be raised.
The decision kept the father and daughter separated for four years and when they were finally reunited, it’s all too late.
‘This is the hardest thing for a man, to know that the most important thing in life is going away,’ Manuel told Univision.
‘I promised her we were going to be together. I think she lost hope that I was going to be with her. It was never my intention to leave her alone.’
The young girl had been battling bouts of depression over the last couple of months after she celebrated her 13th birthday in March.
“I am very sad, really depressed,’ the distraught Honduran dad told DailyMail over the phone on Thursday afternoon.
‘The hardest moments are coming.’
Zoila recalled that Heydi would shield herself in her bedroom whenever she was saddened over how the Trump administration’s immigration position further distanced her from her dad, especially after her mother abandoned her when she was just two years of age.
Her other aunt, Jessica Gámez, tried to fault herself for her niece’s suicide attempt.
‘I do feel that I didn’t know how to take good care of her. I do feel that I failed her,’ she said.
Paramedics transported Heydi was to Cohen Children’s Medical Center where doctors sadly declared her brain-dead a week later.
Family lawyer Anibal Romero blamed the Trump administrations asylum posture as one of the main reasons why Heydi tried to end her life.
‘Words matter, tweets matter,’ Romero told DailyMail on Thursday.
‘When the president threatens to deport millions of people, it really causes anxiety, causes fear, especially in children who are afraid of losing their parents. Politicians should be very careful with the words that are used. It doesn’t matter that it’s on social networks. … Today it’s Heydi, tomorrow it will be someone else.’
Jessica Gámez faults herself after he 13-year-old niece, Heydi Gámez García, hung herself from a door because she was saddened over her father’s plight with the Trump administration’s immigration policies
Heydi Gámez García lost hope that she would be reunited with her father after he was arrested while trying to enter the United States in June, almost three months after her 13th birthday
Heydi (left) arrived to the United States in 2015 and spent only two months at a shelter for migrant minors before she was released to her aunt Jessica (right)
Heydi make it across the Mexico-United States border in July 2015.
She was granted asylum in June 2016 by the U.S. government, which awarded permanent residency in the United States, and quickly picked up on the English language.
That same year Manuel attempted to cross the border but was arrested by the Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas. He was intercepted once again in September 2017 by immigration agents near Santa Teresa, N.M. he tried to enter the country and was convicted of illegally re-entering and was sentenced to 45 days in prison before he was deported to Honduras in November.
Amidst pleas from his daughter to be reconnected again – she was even giving him English lessons through video calls – Manuel promised his distraught daughter he would once again try to evade the strict border measures in March.
A saddened Heydi Gámez Garcia kept to herself in a bedroom and was found shortly after midnight July 3 hanging from a closet
Zoila Gámez was looking to cheer up her niece when she walked into the bedroom and found her with a phone-charging cord tied around her neck
The determined parent made it to Mexico in early June and gave his daughter the heads up that he was on his way back to New York.
Manuel told his daughter that as soon as he made it to Houston it would just take him about a week before they would be together.
‘It has been difficult to be away from her,’ Manuel said.
‘As a father you always want to be with your children. I was hoping to be with her again.’
But just like the previous other times, his path to reuniting with Heydi was once again blocked.
On July 13, Immigration and Customs Enforcement followed through with a request from Romero, who was assisted by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and gave Manuel permission to travel from the holding facility in Texas to be with his daughter – just a few years too late.
Manuel shared of photo collage of his daughter along with a heartbreaking caption on his Facebook account Wednesday morning.
‘It will be difficult to accept your departure, my princess, with the hope that in heaven you will be a little angel of God and that you will give me strength when I can’t continue without you, my love.’
Heydi is slated to be buried next Tuesday before Manuel flies to Houston to turn himself in. An immigration judge will decide his fate shortly thereafter.
Romero hopes immigration officials would grant him a chance to prove his asylum case.
‘This is a man who is completely emotionally destroyed, and locking him in a prison would kill him,’ Romero said.
‘Apart from that, if the government deported him, his life is at risk in Honduras and a tragedy could become another tragedy.’