Monday, July 11, 2011

Body found near Alton may be abandoned immigrant, sheriff says (The Monitor)

Body found near Alton may be abandoned immigrant, sheriff says

July 11, 2011 5:37 PM
Naxiely Lopez
The Monitor

NORTH OF ALTON — A body found near the side of a road here Sunday morning might be that of an illegal immigrant left behind by a smuggler, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said.

A man’s body was found without any type of identification near the intersection of Monte Cristo and Moorefield roads about 6:40 a.m., deputies said.

Investigators believe the deceased was in his 20s, about 5 feet 4 inches tall and about 160 pounds, Treviño said. He had black hair and a mustache and was wearing a two-toned, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, black socks and Adidas tennis shoes.

The only personal item found on the body was a business card from someone in a northeastern U.S. state, Treviño said. He would not comment on the nature of the business.

Investigators waited for toxicology results to determine the exact cause of death. Foul play was not suspected as an autopsy performed Monday revealed no external force caused the death, Treviño said.

Instead, deputies believe it may be the body of an immigrant who died while in the custody of a coyote, or smuggler.

Someone placed the body there, Treviño said. Deputies could tell by looking at the man’s shoes — there was a lack of dirt on them, which indicated he had not walked to the location where he was found.

Deputies have investigated three similar incidents in the past two-and-a-half years near that area in which that was the case, Treviño said. Smugglers will intentionally leave the bodies where they can be seen so the deceased can be returned to family members.

Identification cards are usually left behind, but none were found this time, investigators said.

Deputies were working to identify the man Monday. They planned to run his fingerprints through several state and national databases, as well as through the Secure Communities system, which compares the fingerprints of offenders to a federal database to determine if the individual is eligible for deportation under current federal immigration laws.

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