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> No, Democrat.
The death toll of migrants who died after they were abandoned in
the back of a tractor-trailer that was discovered Monday in San
Antonio rose to 53 on Wednesday, according to the Bexar County
medical examiner. More than a dozen others were taken to local
hospitals with heat-related injuries.
Among the dead were 40 men and 13 women, the medical examiner
Federal law enforcement officials confirmed to CBS News Homeland
Security and Justice reporter Nicole Sganga this appears to be
the deadliest human smuggling case in modern U.S. history.
Not all of the victims have been identified, and some of the
victims could be under 18 years old, county spokesman Tom Peine
told reporters. During a Tuesday afternoon press conference,
officials with Bexar County, Texas, which includes San Antonio,
said the death toll had risen to 51.
"This work will take days, if not longer," Peine said.
On Tuesday morning, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo
Ebrard said on Twitter, citing U.S. authorities, that the
victims included 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans and two Hondurans.
Investigators are still determining the nationalities of those
who died or were hospitalized, Sganga reports.
Three individuals believed to be part of the suspected smuggling
conspiracy are being detained by the federal agency Homeland
Security Investigations, a spokesperson with U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, told CBS News immigration
reporter Camilo Montoya-Galvez.
Officials said Monday 12 adults and four children were taken to
local hospitals for treatment. Baptist hospital confirmed to CBS
News on Tuesday that two of its patients have died.
During Tuesday's press conference, County Commissioner Rebeca
Clay-Flores said the county's hospital system was treating two
patients, a 23-year-old woman from Guatemala and a teenage boy.
"We are asking for prayers for him," Clay-Flores said. She said
the woman's condition was improving.
Police Chief William McManus said at a press conference Monday
that authorities received a call at approximately 5:50 p.m.
local time from a worker who had heard cries for help and found
the trailer with its doors partially open. The worker found a
number of dead bodies inside the trailer, McManus said.
"The scene was tragic beyond words," McManus said. "I don't
understand how anyone could be so callous as to allow it happen
and run from the scene."
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said the 16 people taken to
the hospital were all conscious when they were found, though
they were "weak" and would have been unable to leave the trailer
on their own. He said all were "hot to the touch" and suffering
from heat-related injuries like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
He said there were no signs of water or a working air
conditioner in the truck, and authorities said it's not clear
how long the group was in the truck before they were found.
The victims were a mix of men and women and varied in age,
Hood said first responders were being debriefed to help them
process what they witnessed.
"You're not supposed to open up a truck and see stacks of bodies
in there," he said. "None of us come to work imagining that."
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg called the situation "a horrific
Homeland Security Investigations is leading the investigation
into the incident and will work in conjunction with the San
Antonio Police Department, law enforcement officials told CBS
DHS said in a statement it is "horrified at this tragic loss of
life near San Antonio. This speaks to the desperation of
migrants who would put their lives in the hands of callous human
smugglers who show no regard for human life."
An ICE spokesperson said in a statement that Homeland Security
Investigations responded to the scene after receiving a call
from the police department. The spokesperson said more details
will be released as the investigation continues.
More than 20 emergency vehicles responded to the scene, CBS
affiliate KENS-TV reported.