Memorial honoring the people who died in 18-wheeler continues to grow

On Monday, 48 people were found dead in the tractor-trailer. In the days that followed, five more people have died.

The stretch of road where dozens of people were found dead in the back of an 18-wheeler in San Antonio has turned into a memorial.

SAN ANTONIO – The stretch of road where dozens of people were found dead in the back of an 18-wheeler in San Antonio has turned into a memorial.

Alongside Quintana Road, 53 crosses now line the side of the road beside a mural.

“I wish I could paint something different. But this is real and this, it is happening,” Roberto Marquez, the artist behind the mural said.

Each flick of Marquez’s paintbrush illustrates pain, making the feeling into something tangible.

“This is what we face and this is the problem here and we need to portray that,” Marquez said.

He is an artist who came from Mexico to lend his creativity to honor the victims.

He knows the plight of migrants desperate for the American Dream. He says he’s walked alongside them for years, calling them his brothers and sisters.

“We need to tackle this problem. We don’t want it to talk to go to the, to the extreme you know, where so many people, you know, losing their lives,” Marquez said.

On Saturday, dozens of cars were stopped along the street. People came to say prayers, lay flowers and honor the people behind the crosses.

David Guzman and his wife are still taking in the tragedy.

“I feel very bad for the, for all the immigrants that passed. And I feel for those that survived, they are hurting right now. So, you know, it just, it’s a terrible thing,” Guzman said.

Water bottles are collecting here. Sandragrace Martinez has handed out over 2,000 in just three days’ time in honor of the people trapped inside the trailer who had none.

“All the waters are gone. We have people coming from Oregon, Colorado, California,” Martinez said.

She’s watched as the memorial has grown by the minute, people not wanting to let the innocent lives lost go unnoticed.

“Beginning of a grief process that they can come and as tradition here with Latin Americans and Mexicano is to bring ofreindas and they, they certainly have,” Martinez said.

A ceremony is planned for 30 days out from this tragedy, to honor the victims and pray for the recovery of the survivors.

It’ll be held on Quintana Road at the memorial site.

Also on KSAT:

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.