Rising Texas temperatures led to the discovery of a fourth dead migrant in a single county located 80 miles from the border with Mexico.
The Brooks County Sheriff’s Office received information from ranch hands about a body a few miles west of the immigration checkpoint located on U.S. Highway 281. The ranches in this area are well known human smuggling corridors where criminal organizations march migrants around the Falfurrias Checkpoint.
Brooks County Sheriff’s Office Commander Jorge Esparza traveled to the ranch and met with a local justice of the peace. They traveled nearly one mile into the ranch where Commander Esparza observed a deceased male lying on his back. The migrant died near a hunting blind.
The justice of the peace made the statutory death proclamation and Esparza began a search of the migrant’s body for clues to his identity, according to the incident report. The commander reportedly found two identification cards from Nicaragua and Mexico. Both cards bore the same name, 42-year-old Ledis Jose Ortez Herrera, a Nicaraguan national. The photographs on the cards appear to match the deceased.
A further search of the body revealed a piece of paper with a typed address of an apartment in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The paper appears to be a printed mailing label. What appears to be a phone number with an area code assigned to Trinidad and Tobago was also found in the migrant’s pocket along with some other numbers.
The deceased migrant’s pockets also contained some religious artifacts.
The condition of the migrant’s body indicates he likely died within the last day.
The justice of the peace ordered an autopsy, which will be performed by the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office in Laredo, Texas. A local funeral home took possession of the body and arranged transportation to the medical examiner.
“Conditions on these ranches are particularly dangerous this time of year,” Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez told Breitbart News. “The summer is very hot and there is no water to be found. After their long journey from their home country through Mexico, many of these migrants are ill-prepared to face the challenge of a march through these ranches.”
“The coyotes who smuggle these migrants have no regard for their health or safety,” the sheriff stated. “If the migrant cannot keep up for any reason, the smugglers simply leave them behind to die.”
The death of this migrant is the 13th of the year for Brooks County and the fourth discovered in the past two weeks. Just last week, deputies recovered the body of a semi-nude woman on a ranch not far from the location of the most recent recovery, Breitbart News reported.
About a week earlier, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office deputies recovered the body of another migrant woman who also died while attempting to circumvent the Border Patrol checkpoint in the middle of the county. The woman, identified by her brother as Antonia Calderas Marroquin, died on a ranch located east of the checkpoint area. A few days before that, deputies recovered three bones on another ranch. The bones were all that remained from another migrant.
So far this year, at least 120 migrants, including seven children, died while or shortly after crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. At least 73 of those were found in Texas, according to the International Organization for Migrants’ Missing Migrants Project.