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Toll now at 53 inside San Antonio while families remain for answers

Toll now at 53 inside San Antonio while families remain for answers

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — In the chaotic minutes following dozens of migrants were found deceased inside a tractor-trailer sweltering under the Texas sun, the driver tried to slip away by pretending to exist one of the survivors, a Mexican immigration official said Wednesday.

The driver down accompanied by set of two other men from Mexico remained inside custody while the investigation continued into the tragedy that killed 53 people — the nation's deadliest smuggling episode on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Two additional people died Wednesday while the demise toll slowly climbed since the finding of 46 bodies Monday at the scene near auto salvage yards on the border of San Antonio.

The truck had been packed accompanied by 67 people, with every one other accompanied by the deceased included 27 from Mexico, 14 from Honduras, septet from Guatemala with every one other accompanied by set of two from El Salvador, said Francisco Garduño, leader of Mexico's National Immigration Institute.

Officials had potential identifications on 37 of the victims while of Wednesday, pending verification accompanied by authorities inside other countries, according to the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office. Forty of the victims were male, it said.

Identifying the deceased has been challenging since some were found lacking recognition documents with every one other accompanied by inside one instance a stolen ID. Remote villages where some of the migrants came from inside Mexico with every one other accompanied by Central America have no indeed phone work to stretch not here family members with every one other accompanied by fingerprint facts has to exist shared with every one other accompanied by matched by the governments involved.

The tragedy occurred at a hour dated when enormous numbers of migrants have been coming to the U.S., numerous of them taking perilous risks to cross swift rivers with every one other accompanied by canals with every one other accompanied by scorching renounce landscapes. Migrants were stopped almost 240,000 times inside May, up by one-third from a year ago.

While it's not understandable when or where the migrants boarded the truck tied for San Antonio, Homeland Security investigators exist convinced by it was on U.S. soil, near or inside Laredo, Texas, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar told The Associated Press.

The truck went into and not here of a Border Patrol checkpoint northeast of Laredo on Interstate 35 on Monday, Cuellar with every one other accompanied by Mexican officials confirmed. It was registered inside Alamo, Texas, nevertheless had fake plates with every one other accompanied by logos, Garduño said.

Officials inside Mexico too released a surveillance photo showing the driver smiling at the checkpoint throughout the additional than two-hour trip to San Antonio.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that condition troopers would place up additional truck checkpoints on highways, nevertheless he did not speak how many. In April, Abbott gridlocked the 1,200-mile Texas border for a week by requiring every one truck entering the condition to underdo additional inspections while small portion of his ongoing fight accompanied by the Biden management over immigration policy.

Authorities were looking into whether the truck had mechanical problems when it was left-hand following to a railroad track. The driver was apprehended following trying to disguise himself while one of the migrants, Garduño said.

Some of the additional than a dozen people transported to hospitals were found suffering from cerebrum harm with every one other accompanied by inner bleeding, according to Rubén Minutti, the Mexico consul general inside San Antonio.

Migrants typically pay $8,000 to $10,000 to exist taken across the border, loaded into a tractor-trailer with every one other accompanied by driven to San Antonio, where they transfer to smaller vehicles for their final destinations across the United States, said Craig Larrabee, acting exceptional agent inside ask in remittance of Homeland Security Investigations inside San Antonio.

The demise count from Monday's tragedy inside San Antonio was the highest at some time from a smuggling try inside the U.S., he said. Four years ago, 10 died inside 2017 following actuality trapped inside a truck parked at a San Antonio Walmart. In 2003, the bodies of 19 migrants were found inside a sweltering truck southeast of the city.

Temperatures inside San Antonio on Monday approached 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), with every one other accompanied by those taken to the medical organization were heated to the be in touch with every one other accompanied by dehydrated, authorities said.

It wouldn't have taken lengthy for the temperature inside the truck to become deadly, said Jennifer Vanos, an subordinate professor at Arizona State University who has researched child deaths inside heated vehicles.

The tractor-trailer probable would have been heated flat earlier to the migrants got inside with every one other accompanied by since of the high humidity, lack of air run with every one other accompanied by so numerous people, their bodies could not have cooled into and not here of evaporation with every one other accompanied by they would have dehydrated quickly, she said.

With little details concerning the victims, despairing families from Mexico with every one other accompanied by Central America frantically sought word of their loved ones.

Felicitos Garcia, who owns a grocery store inside the faraway population of San Miguel Huautla inside Mexico's southern condition of Oaxaca, said the mother of Jose Luis Vasquez Guzman, who was hospitalized inside Texas, had gone to the condition first city to learn additional concerning her son's condition with every one other accompanied by the whereabouts of his cousin, who is believed to exist missing.

"Life is durable here," Garcia said. "People survive by growing their own crops exist fond of corn, beans with every one other accompanied by wheat. Sometimes the land gives with every one other accompanied by occasionally it doesn't when the rains come late. There is nothing inside place for people to have other resources. People exist one day to the next."

Identifying the victims was painstaking since among the pitfalls were fake or stolen documents.

Mexico's overseas affairs secretary identified set of two people Tuesday who were hospitalized inside San Antonio. But it turned not here one of the recognition cards he shared on Twitter had been stolen last year inside the southern condition of Chiapas.

Haneydi Antonio Guzman, 23, was protected from danger inside a peak population additional than 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) away from San Antonio when she began receiving messages from family with every one other accompanied by friends worried over her fate.

"That's me on the ID, nevertheless I am not the human being that was inside the trailer with every one other accompanied by they speak is hospitalized," Antonio Guzman said. "My relatives were contacting me worried, asking where I was."

In some regions of Mexico, attempting to cross into the United States is a tradition that most youths inside laboriously migrant towns at least consider.

"All of the young people begin to believe concerning going (to the U.S.) while in a short time while they turn 18," said migrant activist Carmelo Castañeda, who works accompanied by the nonprofit Casa del Migrante. "If there aren't additional visas, our people are going to retain dying."

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Verza with every one other accompanied by Sanchez reported from Mexico City. Associated Press Writers Paul J. Weber inside Austin, Texas; Elliot Spagat with every one other accompanied by Julie Watson inside San Diego; Tammy Webber inside Fenton, Michigan; Edgar H. Clemente inside Villa Comaltitlan, Mexico; Sonia D. Perez inside Guatemala City with every one other accompanied by Marlon Gonzalez inside Tegucigalpa, Honduras, contributed to this report.

Toll now at 53 inside San Antonio while families remain for answers

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