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Border agents find two bodies near Yuma

(Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
(Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 11:49 AM MST
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YUMA, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents found two deceased individuals in separate locations in the desert southeast of the Yuma Foothills.

An agent assigned to the Wellton station was tracking a group of migrants through the Barry M. Goldwater bombing range on Monday morning, May 31, when he found a man’s body. The migrant, later identified as a 40-year-old Mexican national, was only a couple miles away from a rescue beacon. It is believed that he had been dead for about two weeks.

On Tuesday afternoon, June 1, Yuma Sector radio fielded a 911 call from C5, which is Mexico’s 911 equivalent, about a group in need of help south of the Yuma Foothills. The caller said a woman in the group collapsed and died.

Yuma Air Interdiction agents responded to the area and located the group. Agents took the migrants into custody and the deceased woman, a 20-year-old Guatemalan national, was turned over to the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office coroner.

“It doesn’t take much,” said Lenin Padilla, a Border Patrol agent and program manager assigned to the Yuma Sector Foreign Operations Branch. “Proof of that is the woman. She was only a couple miles north of the border. It’s hot out there.”

Padilla, who is also the coordinator for Yuma Sector’s Missing Migrant Program, said Border Patrol is working with the Mexican government and other non-government organizations to try to prevent incidents like this from occurring. By putting out public service announcements in Mexico, they hope that migrants will avoid crossing the border in barren areas of the desert, especially during the summer.

Rescue beacons and 911 placards are situated throughout the desert so migrants can summon help if they need to. During the month of May, Yuma Sector agents responded to 47 911 calls and rescued 126 migrants. Five dead bodies were recovered, three of whom were identified and two whose identities are unknown.

In addition, Padilla said there are two migrants who are unaccounted for. Their families reported them missing to their respective consulates after they planned to cross the desert into the U.S. and haven’t been heard from since.

Padilla said so far in the first three days of June, the two bodies previously mentioned have been recovered and agents have responded to three 911 calls.

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