A Brooks County Sheriff’s Office deputy faced the gruesome task of recovering the half-eaten remains of a migrant who died on a Texas ranch about 80 miles from the Mexican border. The migrant is the 36th to have lost his life attempting to circumvent the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint on U.S. Highway 281.
Brooks County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received a call on September 14 from a ranch security officer about the discovery of a dead migrant on a ranch near Encino, Texas, according to information provided by sheriff’s office officials. The area is a well-known migrant drop area for human smugglers.
Callous human smugglers will drop off the migrants on ranches south and southwest of the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint. They give them a limited amount of water and food and send them on a march with a guide that can last for days, Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez told Breitbart Texas. “If one of them becomes injured, overheated, ill, or for any other reason can’t keep up, the guide will simply leave them behind to die,” Sheriff Martinez said.
Two hunting guides working on the ranch found this migrant’s remains under the mesquite-covered brush lying on its his back. Clothing suggests the victim to be a male.
Sheriff’s office dispatchers sent Deputy Robert Castanon to the ranch to recover the remains. He met up with a Border Patrol agent who escorted him 2.25 miles into the ranch to the scene of the migrant’s death.
“I walked over to the skeletal remains in which it still had partial skin attached to its upper and lower back, hands, and feet,” Deputy Castanon wrote in his report.
The deputy observed the migrant’s skull and other bone fragments that had been removed by animals a few yards away from the main parts of the body. Castanon said the migrant wore blue jeans, gray slacks, white socks, a brown belt with a silver buckle, and a blue shirt. The deputy also found a pair of shoes with black soles, a black sweater, black socks, and a black flip phone on the ground near the remains.
No wallet or identifying documents were found with the remains. The deputy photographed the scene and a worker from a local funeral home loaded the remains into a body bag for transport to the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office in Laredo, Texas. The medical examiner will attempt to identify the cause of death and the migrant’s identity.
So far this year, 37 died in this single county in South Texas. This accounts for nearly 20 percent of the more than 190 migrants found dead while or shortly after crossing the Mexican border into Texas, and more than 10 percent of the more than 300 migrant deaths along the entire U.S.-Mexico Border as reported by the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrant Report.