A 12-year-old Honduran boy traveling with the migrant caravan currently in southern Mexico heading towards the United States was captured by Mexican authorities and returned to Honduras after authorities figured out that he was traveling without an adult family member.
Mario David Castellanos left his parents to join the caravan without telling them; they only found out he was with the caravan days later after he called them days later.
The 12-year-old had left his home on Oct. 13, and was one of the first migrants to force their way through a barrier between the border of Guatemala and Mexico, prompting Mexican federal officers to detain him, reported BBC.
The unaccompanied minor then decided not to continue and asked to return to Honduras, reported the Diario El Heraldo.
— Diario El Heraldo (@diarioelheraldo) October 27, 2018
He arrived back in Honduras on Oct. 25, via the San Pedro Sula airport. Pictures from the airport show him smiling and holding a drink.
Authorities in Honduras refused to send the boy back to his parents.
Ana García de Hernández, the first lady of Honduras, said in a statement that officials wouldn’t send Castellanos back to his parents until they determined the living conditions in the family home after he was able to leave to join the caravan, reported Prensa Libre. Officials said he will live at and will study in a local school.
“We want him to stop working as he did before and continue studying to get ahead,” the first lady said.
"Me querían meter en una pandilla" https://t.co/lB4bjqJi4R
— BBC News Mundo (@bbcmundo) October 20, 2018
Parents Say He Left
Mario’s parents said that he left without gaining permission after he told them he was going to the town center and would return in a few hours.
Some reports said they learned he was in the caravan when he called them after several days; others said they first learned of his travels from friends who had spotted their son on television.
Mario told BBC that he left without anything except what he was wearing. “I did not pack anything, I came alone with the clothes I was wearing. On the trip I use the clothes that people are giving me, I’m putting them on and I’m throwing them away, I can not carry much cargo,” he said.
He has not appeared to comment since returning to Honduras.
Jose Castellanos said that he wanted his child back, saying: “He is not an orphan.” Jose, a security guard, insisted that his family always has enough to eat even though they’re poor.