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Death toll of migrants found in abandoned tractor-trailer in Texas rises to 50

Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Kate Linthicum and Gregory Yee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

SAN ANTONIO — The number of migrants who died after apparently being abandoned in a sweltering tractor-trailer in Texas rose to at least 50 on Tuesday, in a suspected border-smuggling attempt now under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.

Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter on Tuesday that 22 Mexican nationals, seven Guatemalan nationals and two Honduran nationals had been identified.

“We are in mourning,” Ebrard wrote in Spanish.

The trailer was discovered Monday evening in southwestern San Antonio after a worker heard a cry for help, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. The worker opened the doors, found “a number of deceased individuals inside” and called police.

First responders found bodies piled on top of one another inside the trailer.

Sixteen survivors — 12 adults and four minors — were taken to hospitals, authorities said Monday. The survivors were too weak to exit the trailer on their own, said San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood, who described their bodies as “hot to the touch.”

 

“They were suffering from heat stroke, heat exhaustion,” Hood said. He said there was no sign of water or a working air-conditioning unit in the vehicle.

Temperatures in San Antonio hovered around 100 degrees Monday.

McManus said three people were in custody in connection with the incident.

Judge Nelson Wolff, the top elected official in Bexar County, where San Antonio is located, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that local authorities believe the truck came from Laredo, a border city 150 miles south.

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