The 10-year-old migrant boy who went viral in April after being found abandoned and crying at the US-Mexico border has finally been reunited with his mother, Dailymail.com can reveal.
Exclusive photos shared by his family show Wilton Obregon wearing a paper hat and grinning from ear to ear as he poses with mom, Meylin, after being released Friday from Casa Padre Childcare Center in Brownsville, Texas.
In another shot, the Nicaraguan boy is seen donning a Batman t-shirt while holding a stuffed animal and a shiny blue model tractor at his feet.
While in a third he stands proud, hand on hip, with a giant red fluffy bear and a big heart with the words ‘I Love You’.
The moving photos contrast sharply with the heartbreaking footage captured on a US Border Patrol agent’s bodycam of a lonely and terrified Wilton sobbing after being abandoned at the border in April when his mother was kidnapped by a Mexican cartel.
Ten-year-old Wilton Obregon smiled Friday after he was finally reunited with his mother, Meylin Obregon, nearly two months after being abandoned at the border after she was kidnapped by the Mexican cartel.
The Nicaraguan boy was photographed over the weekend after he was released from the Casa Padre Childcare Center in Brownsville, Texas, where he has been staying since being picked up in April.
The images made headlines around the world amid the deepening border crisis in the US, which sees a growing influx of migrants paying cartel smugglers up to $9,000 to be transferred each night in flimsy rafts across the Rio Grande.
The new photos were taken this weekend in the Brownsville area, where Wilton is staying with his mother who will decide where in the US they will await their asylum application.
Until Sunday, the mother and son were supposed to join her brother Misael Obregon in Miami.
At the time, Misael told the Spanish television channel Telemundo: ‘Of course they will come and stay with me.’
But those plans are now up in the air because of online haters who have made it difficult for the family, he told Dailymail.com in an exclusive interview.
Misael, who has been in Miami for five years, revealed: “Things have changed. My sister feels like she wants to live somewhere else, in the shade, where she won’t be noticed.’
The carpenter, whose 15-year-old twin sons also recently crossed the border and are with him awaiting an asylum application, added: “She wants to be out of the limelight.
“A lot of people have criticized her, especially on social media. She doesn’t want to be in the firing line of people attacking her.
“I was going to help Wilton get to school, but we’ll have to see. Whatever, Wilton is so glad he’s free now.’
The migrant boy made international headlines after crying to a US Border Patrol agent in a viral video and asking for help after being abandoned by people smugglers in Texas
Misael was forced to raise $5,000 to free the boy after he was also snatched by the cartel with his mother.
However, the construction worker was unable to pay the ransom for his sister, who was eventually released and crossed over to the US.
Speaking of his joy at the couple’s reunion, he told Telemundo, “I feel very emotional, my heart is beating with happiness.”
But he added: “For the people with bad intentions, that they prayed for my sister to return to Nicaragua with her boy … they are American citizens and I hope they never have to go through what we have have to go through.’
Wilton and his mother had tried to enter the US in March but were deported under Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that expels migrants without being allowed to apply for protection.
Wilton was discovered alone on April 1 in the dusty, arid landscape near La Grulla, Texas, by a Border Patrol agent on his way home from a shift.
Weeping and trembling as he approached the officer’s vehicle, he pleaded, “Can you help me? I came with a group and they let me down. I don’t know where they are.’
When asked if he had been told to ask for help, Wilton replied between sobs, “No, I’ve come, because if not, where am I supposed to go?
“Someone could kidnap me, kidnap me. I’m scared,” he added.
Wilton and his mother were seized by a cartel in northern Mexico during a previous failed attempt to enter the US.
They had crossed the border in March but were immediately returned under Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that expels migrants without being able to apply for protection.
After Wilton’s ransom was paid, the smugglers took him across the border to Texas, where they abandoned him.
He was transferred to a shelter of the US Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of Health and Human Services.
Meylin, meanwhile, was released by the cartel two weeks later and surrendered himself to immigration officials to seek asylum. She was later transferred to a migrant center in Texas.
She visited Wilton at the orphanage and was eventually reunited with him almost two months after he was picked up.
The two were later kidnapped by members of a Mexican cartel, who eventually released Wilton after his uncle paid his ransom. The boy was then smuggled into the US with a group of migrants who later left him in a desert area of Texas
The boy’s uncle, Misael Obregon (pictured in April) was able to pay a $5,000 ransom to free Wilton after being snatched away with his mother by the cartel
Misael spoke to his cousin in a video where he asked him, “Do you want to go back to Nicaragua or come with me?” The boy replied: ‘I don’t want to go back’
“I felt happy and very happy because it wasn’t like all the other times I went and came back without him,” she told Telemundo.
“On the other hand, today was a very special day for me because I didn’t come back alone anymore, I returned with my son. Today is the happiest moment of my life.’
Wilton said of the shelter, “I had friends there. I was happy there, but being with my mother now is more fun.’
The publicity of the video sparked a custody battle over the boy, which at one point involved the Nicaraguan government.
Nicaraguan officials urged the US to return Wilton to his home in a remote mountain area of the country where his father Lazaro Gutierrez and other relatives live.
In the end, they abandoned the request, and Wilton’s rancher’s father agreed that the boy would be better off in the US with his mother.
Wilton’s release from the Child Immigrant Center follows the latest figures revealing that 178,622 undocumented immigrants attempted to enter the United States in April.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection monthly report showed this was an increase of 5,274 from March.
The April total was 10 times higher than the same month last year, when 17,106 people were detained by officers along the 1,954-mile southwestern border.
Border agents detained 17,171 unaccompanied children in the southwestern border region in April, nine percent less than 18,890 in March, when a record number of unaccompanied migrant children went into U.S. custody.