MCALLEN, Texas – Border Patrol agents rescued a 2-year-old girl that was left behind by smugglers in Granjeno Monday evening.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a group of 14 immigrants told agents they didn't know who the toddler belonged to.
The group told agents they found the girl when they were led to a raft where the toddler was sitting alone, but once they made it to the American side they handed the toddler to one of the adults in the group and returned to Mexico.
It was then that agents apprehended the 14 illegal immigrants and the child.
CBP agents said they were able to find the child's belongings and a piece of paper with a name and phone number on it. She was also wearing a T-shirt with a phone number on it. A birth certificate identified the girl as a citizen of El Salvador.
Agents said the child, who was healthy and unharmed, has been placed in foster care.
The child's mother told agents a friend was supposed to reunite the girl with her.
“Smugglers are heartless criminals who have no regard for the lives of the people, no matter what age. This child was left in the hands of strangers to get smuggled across the border,” said Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr. “This case shows how smugglers continue to prey on the most vulnerable, treating them as contraband, using them for personal gain.”