Officials in Texas report that three more migrants died recently after being abandoned by human smugglers on ranches near the Mexican border. At least 155 migrants have been found dead while or shortly after crossing the border from Mexico into Texas in 2019.
Rio Grande Sector Border Patrol agents discovered the bodies of four migrants who died in August after illegally crossing from Mexico. Officials reported the deaths in four separate South Texas counties.
Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station agents came upon the body of a migrant in the brush near La Grulla, Texas, on Saturday morning. A deputy from the Starr County Sheriff’s Office came to the scene along with a justice of the peace to assist in the recovery.
One day earlier, agents assigned to the Javier Vega, Jr. Border Patrol Checkpoint on U.S. Highway 77 received information about a migrant who became lost after being abandoned by human smugglers on a ranch in Kenedy County. Agents responded to the last known GPS coordinates and found the man already deceased. Sheriff’s deputies from Kenedy County responded and arranged transportation of the remains.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers advised Border Patrol agents working near Sullivan City, Texas, on Thursday about another lost migrant. The agents carried out a search of the area and discovered the body of the deceased migrant. Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived and took custody of the body.
And finally, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office officials received information about another dead migrant on a ranch near the U.S. Highway 281 Border Patrol checkpoint. Deputy Robert Castana met a Border Patrol agent at the ranch’s entrance and drove 0.9 miles into the ranch. The deputy observed the lifeless body of the migrant laying on his back under the brush. The migrant’s belongings included a blue bible, Mexican currency, and identification documents belonging to 39-year-old Calderon Betanco Cornelio Joel, a Nicaraguan national.
Officials arranged for transportation of the body to the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office for positive identification and determination of the cause of death.
The total number of migrant deaths in Texas in 2019 now sits at 155, according to the Missing Migrants Project. In Brooks County alone, officials report at least 28 migrants died after being abandoned by human smugglers during attempts to circumvent the Border Patrol checkpoint.