Bexar County officials share new details about smuggling victims

Death toll is now at 51 people

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County officials gave new information Tuesday about the victims of Monday’s migrant-smuggling tragedy that left 51 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.

“Today we mourn for those 51 immigrants who came to us to breathe that fresh air but instead found death in the state of Texas suffering in a van or trailer from heat exhaustion,” said County Judge Nelson Wolff.

The deceased

The death toll is now at 51 — 39 men and 12 women. County officials said some of those victims may be under the age of 18 but their identities still need to be confirmed.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner is tasked with identifying those victims. Because there are so many victims, other area medical examiners are assisting in that work.

“Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office has carried a heavy load over the last few weeks from the Uvalde victims and now today,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores said.

The process could take several days or longer.

“We want to be very diligent in this work and respectful to them,” said Thomas Peine, Bexar County assistant public information officer.

When the victims are positively identified, the information will be given to the consulates in their country of origin.

Anyone looking for information on a missing loved one who may have been among the group of migrants is asked to contact their consulates.

The injured

University Hospital is one of six area hospitals in San Antonio treating victims. It’s the Level 1 Trauma Facility for the region.

The hospital has two patients — a 23-year-old woman and an adolescent boy.

Clay-Flores said she visited both victims on Tuesday. The woman is in serious condition.

“Her condition has gotten better, she was able to speak to me,” Clay-Flores said.

The woman’s family in Guatemala has been notified, Clay-Flores said.

The adolescent boy’s condition is still critical.

“Personally, we are asking for prayers for him,” Clay-Flores said.

A University Hospital physician spoke about the type of injuries these patients have, saying heat can wreak havoc on the body.

“As the temperature rises and the body is unable to get rid of the heat, eventually the organ systems start shutting down and the body stops working the same way,” the doctor said.

County officials did not share information about the victims at the other San Antonio hospitals, but KSAT reached out and was given the following information.

  • Baptist Hospital in downtown San Antonio received five patients. Three of those patients have died; two remain in critical condition.
  • Christus Santa Rosa Westover Hills is treating three patients.
  • The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has one pediatric patient.
  • Methodist Metropolitan Hospital has three patients, all in critical, but stable condition.
  • Texas Vista Medical Center is treating two patients, both are in critical condition.

Wolff said this tragedy should urge people to “correct the horrible mistakes this state is making and our nation is making.”

He urged people to stop dehumanizing migrants.

“They are not less than us,” he said.

Identifying loved ones

Anyone worried that their loved one may be among the victims is urged to call the consulate for their country of origin.

Tuesday’s update did not provide new information about the criminal investigation, which is being led by Homeland Security Investigations — a branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that specializes in human trafficking cases.

Also on KSAT:

About the Author

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Recommended Videos