Texas is currently in the middle of a winter storm and is experiencing its coldest temperatures in decades. Amid the freezing weather, an 11-year-old boy was found unresponsive by his mother under a pile of blankets in his bed inside their unheated mobile home. According to The Guardian, Cristian Pavon was pronounced dead on Tuesday and authorities are now investigating whether the otherwise healthy boy died of hyperthermia after the mobile home in Conroe lost power over the weekend.
Christian’s mother, María Elisa Pineda, had informed that last week, the 11-year-old ran outside his family’s mobile home to play in the snow for the very first time. Though the family from Honduras had lost power the night before, the start of what they did not know would be days of blackouts in freezing temperatures, they managed to capture a moment of joy. But on Tuesday, María could not wake her son up.
While speaking to Houston Chronicle, María said that everything was well and Christian was happy and not at all sick. Investigators are now looking into the cause of the young boy’s death, however, his family believes that he died from hypothermia. It is worth noting that there is no official death toll from the cold spell which has paralyzed much of Texas, but media outlets have reported that at least 30 people have died so far.
Christian was in the sixth grade and he had come to Texas from Honduras two years ago. María informed that the night before his death, the temperatures were in the single digits and she had tucked him into bed with his three-year-old stepbrother. But, Tuesday morning the 11-year-old boy was dead. A spokesperson for the local police department said that the mobile home the family was living in was 40-years-old and had little insulation.
Meanwhile, due to lack of power, pipes have frozen and a large number of systems have been reporting water issues, said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Water problems have impacted about 14.3 million residents out of a total population of around 29 million, as officials distribute fresh water and food to thousands of people, he said. Even as utility operations returned to normal on Friday, more than 50,000 customers were still without power as crews struggled to repair the downed lines.
US President Joe Biden issued a major disaster declaration for 77 of the worst-hit counties in Texas. The declaration authorizes the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts and expedite assistance. The Texas storm represents Biden's first big domestic crisis. The President said he wants to visit the state next week but does not want to distract from relief efforts.