Bodies discovered last Wednesday, Thursday by Duval authorities

Sue Fleming, The Freer Press

Three illegal immigrants were found dead by law enforcement officials last week within three areas of Duval County having succumbed to cold temperatures, officials said.

Cmdr. Ramiro Ramirez with the Central South Texas Criminal Investigations Unit said on Wednesday, Jan. 24, officers were informed by a passing motorist that they had spotted two individuals walking out of brush about a mile away from the intersection of FM 3249 and Hwy. 339.

"We drove over and found them, a male and female. They were shaking and crying, drenched by the rain and really cold, asking for food and medical attention. They said they hadn't eaten in about four days," Ramirez said. "Pointing toward the brush, they also said someone else had been with them and needed help."

Ramirez said after walking down a worn path, officers came upon the body of a female lying on the ground who was later pronounced dead by Judge Benny Garza.

"The male and female we talked to were from El Salvador and the deceased who they only knew by the first name of 'Gloria' was believed to be from Nicaragua. They and others who had already apparently left may have been waiting to be picked up by coyotes because there were a lot of clothing and backpacks laying around on the ground," Ramirez added.

Wednesday afternoon about 4 p.m. authorities found the body of another undocumented female immigrant which was found lying under a bridge on North Hwy.16, about 10 miles north of Hebbronville, Ramirez said.

"This individual had ID showing she was 28 years old and was from El Salvador. She's believed to have been part of another different group. Judge Garza arrived and pronounced her dead," he said.

The following day on Thursday, at about 2 p.m., Border Patrol agents found the body of an El Salvadoran male lying in the brush about 16 miles east of Hebbronville on Hwy. 339 and he was also pronounced dead by Garza, Ramirez said.

"Unfortunately, this is typical for this time of year when the weather is cold and bad," Ramirez said. "These people are usually already weak from the lack of proper food and water and then having to deal with exposure, hypothermia sets in."

Reports show Mexican Consulate authorities were contacted to assist in helping to identify the bodies. Duval County Sheriff's deputies and Benavides EMS also assisted in the incidents.