Friday, June 18, 2004

El Paso Times Online

El Paso Times Online

Two immigrants found dead

Louie Gilot
El Paso Times
Two undocumented immigrants were found dead at opposite ends of the El Paso sector of the Border Patrol during the past two days, officials said.

Thursday, Border Patrol agents pulled the body of a woman in her 20s out of the American Canal in the Lower Valley. A group of undocumented immigrants had flagged down the agents near the Midway overpass at 12:30 a.m, saying they saw the woman go under water and not come up.

Although the water in the canal is only 4 feet deep, undercurrents are treacherous, officials said. Agents have already rescued two immigrants from the canal this year. Last year, three immigrants drowned in El Paso.

The woman, found at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, was the first drowning death recorded this year by the Border Patrol.

Wednesday, agents found the body of another woman, also in her 20s, in the desert 20 miles west of the Columbus, N.M., port of entry. The unidentified woman is the third person this year to die in the Southern New Mexico desert.

On June 4, Victor Hugo de Jesus Montalvo, 17, of the Mexican state of Puebla died of dehydration and heatstroke, which might have been worsened by his allegedly taking stimulants offered by the smugglers who guided him into the United States.

On May 14, Eunice Avila Hernandez, 32, of the Mexican state of Veracruz fell ill in the desert. She died on her way to a hospital after another undocumented immigrant alerted a rancher and Border Patrol agents found her.

The woman found Wednesday might have died a few weeks ago, officials said. She was fully clothed next to a makeshift shelter made of brush. Agents found her as they searched the area for a woman reported missing by undocumented immigrants who had been captured. Officials said they weren't sure the body was the particular missing woman they had been seeking.


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