Already in the first two months of 2015, the remains/bodies of 18 border crossers have been found in the brush of Brooks County. This exceeds the number of remains found in January and February since records began in 2009.
|The final number for February 2015 was 7 (not 1).
Eddie Canales, executive director of the STHRC, was instrumental in locating the last 4 remains found in February 2015.
Eddie received a call from the brother of a young man named Wilfredo, age 20, who had traveled from Nicaragua and was missing. In additional phone conversations with others who had been on the trek with Wilfredo, Eddie was able to get a clear and good description of an area in which to search: the north side of the Salt Lake (Lago Salado) east of the airport. Having such a good description is uncharacteristic in a land of thick brush and few markers. Since the call came to Eddie 22 days after the young man had gone missing, we knew that we were looking for a body.
|The Salt Lake is privately owned. During drought the area is desert sand.
Days passed after Eddie conveyed the information to the Border Patrol and to Brooks County Deputy Sheriff Benny Martinez who conveyed it to the Texas Guard before the remains were found (even a good description of the location does not reduce the difficulty of actually finding the missing person). One search was done with a helicopter, but it produced no results. A cadaver dog was used to search and produced no results. It was an on-the-ground search that led to the recovery of Wilfredo's body. In the process, the skeletal remains of 3 other bodies were found.
Though no identification was found on Wilfredo's body, a phone number was found in his pocket. The phone number was that of the brother who had called Eddie. Family members were able to identify the remains via information including personal effects. Wilfredo's body will be repatriated to his country and his family soon.
As is so often the case, in the course of the conversations regarding the location of Wilfredo, it was made known that 3 other border crossers from Wilfredo's group had been left behind, perhaps a 40 minute walk further north. Those remains have not yet been found.
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