Man says infant daughter died during bureaucratic nightmare
A North Myrtle Beach man says his child died needlessly from government red tape.
Clay Riggsbee says his Vietnamese fiance was denied a visa to come to the U.S. and while she was waiting, their baby died for lack of medical care.
Riggsbee says he met his future wife, Cam Giang Tran Thi, during a vacation trip to Vietnam in November, 2007. His pet name for her is Yin.
A romance bloomed, and they were engaged in May of 2008.
They filed for a K-1 Fiance Visa in 2009 and Yin was turned down.
Letters from the consulate say officials believed their relationship was "a sham entered into to evade immigration law."
After making more trips to Vietnam, Riggsbee filed for a visa for her again and by the time she went back to the consulate for an interview in January of this year, she was pregnant with his child.
"Because she was pregnant, they said they wanted DNA evidence for proof that I'm the father."
Their baby girl, Quynh Giao, was born this past June.
Yin went back to the consulate in Vietnam to submit DNA evidence, and Riggsbee says they wouldn't even see her.
"She went there on 3 different occasions and she was turned away with our child with her."
In September, she died at just 2 and a half months old.
Had Yin been given a visa to come to the U.S. when they applied for it, Riggsbee says his baby's death could have been prevented. The disease occurs in the U.S. but is rarely fatal due to proper care.
"My child is dead for what, for what? They could have given my wife a visa in January, she'd be alive today."
Finally, last month, after Riggsbee went back to Vietnam, and both of them were interviewed at the consulate again, Yin got approved for a visa. She arrived in the U.S. last month.
But for Quynh Giao, it's too late.
"The most senseless death of a child I've ever seen in my life. And the real key is that it could have been avoided."
Riggsbee says he asked for help from senators, congressman, the citizens and immigration service, even the F.B.I.
"And not one single person I ever spoke to in this government lifted their finger."
A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told us, due to the privacy act, they can't discuss individual cases.
Now that his fiance is here in the U.S., Riggsbee says they plan to get married within 90 days.