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Border Patrol agents rescue abandoned siblings, ages 5 and 6, at US-Mexico border

David Hernandez, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

SAN DIEGO — Border Patrol agents rescued two children, a 5-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother, after they were abandoned along the U.S.-Mexico border in southeastern San Diego County this week, officials said.

About 3 p.m. Monday, the agents spotted a man and a woman walking with the two children just south of the border near the community of Jacumba Hot Springs. The agents observed as the man and woman "hoisted" the children over large boulders in an area near the side of a mountain where the border wall ends, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jeff Stephenson said in a statement.

When agents arrived in the area, the children were alone and crying. They were unable to communicate with agents, except to provide their names, Stephenson said.

They were taken to a nearby Border Patrol station. There, the children handed over a handwritten note with their mother's name and phone number. The contact information also was written on their forearms, Stephenson said.

Agents contacted their mother and obtained additional information about the children, who were taken in by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement. Stephenson said the siblings are Mexican nationals.


He declined to provide other information about the case, saying the incident was under investigation.

"It is unconscionable that anyone would abandon these small children and those responsible for smuggling events like this will be aggressively prosecuted," Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement. "Thankfully, our agents were able to quickly rescue these siblings."

A similar incident happened last week when Border Patrol agents rescued two Ecuadorian sisters, ages 3 and 5, after suspected human smugglers dropped them over a 14-foot-tall border fence in New Mexico near El Paso, Texas. Video released by the agency shows a person atop the fence lower the girls before dropping them to the ground.

Both girls were checked out at a hospital before being released and placed in a Border Patrol temporary holding unit, officials said.

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