Saturday, May 22, 2004

Del Rio News-Herald

Del Rio News-Herald

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Immigrant's death under investigation

By Karen Gleason
The News-Herald

Published May 23, 2004

An autopsy has been requested to determine what caused the death of a young man whose body was found Friday on a ranch northwest of the Del Rio city limits.

The body was located on the Nixon Ranch northwest of Del Rio Friday afternoon by U.S. Border Patrol agents who had been alerted to its presence by authorities in Ciudad Acu–a, Coah., Mexico, according to Lt. Larry Pope, who heads the Val Verde County Sheriff's Office criminal investigations division.

Pope said he was told that the man, believed to be in his early 20s and a resident of the Mexico state of Oaxaca, was an undocumented immigrant who illegally crossed the Rio Grande with two traveling companions, a man and a woman. Pope said the woman identified herself to authorities as the dead man's common-law wife. Pope said the woman told immigration authorities in Mexico that she and the other man turned around and went back to Ciudad Acu–a after her common-law husband died.

After the pair alerted authorities in Mexico, those authorities called the Mexican Consulate in Del Rio, which in turn notified the U.S. Border Patrol here. The man and woman then were escorted back to the United States to assist Border Patrol agents in locating the body.

"After the witnesses to the death were returned to Mexico, the Border Patrol notified the Val Verde Sheriff's Office," Pope said Saturday.

Pope said all of the information he had received about the case is as yet unsubstantiated by witness interviews. Pope also said all of the identification the dead man carried was removed by the man and woman who were with him when he died, and that they took that identification back to Mexico with them.

Pope said the man was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Joey Gonzalez, who ordered the autopsy.


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