Memorial service honors 53 lives lost after migrants found inside trailer in San Antonio last month

It’s the worst mass casualty incident to happen in San Antonio.

It's been one month since 53 people died in the back of an 18-wheeler on the Southwest Side. The trailer found on Quintana Road on June 27 had 67 people inside from Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. They had no water and no air conditioning. In the weeks that followed, a huge memorial has grown. KSAT's Leigh Waldman is there and said a memorial service just wrapped up.

SAN ANTONIO – It’s been one month since 53 people died in the back of an 18-wheeler on the Southwest Side of San Antonio.

The trailer found on Quintana Road on June 27 had 67 people inside from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. They had no water and no air conditioning.

Currently, four people are in custody for their roles in what happened.

In the weeks that followed, a huge memorial has grown.

On Wednesday, a memorial service was held to discuss that we are united and we each have more in common than we think.

“Tonight, we remember. May we never forget that we are human beings,” speaker Katrina Ornelas said.

The service started with a prayer in both English and Spanish.

Speakers called for people to have compassion and love for those coming to the United States seeking a better life.

Precinct 1 Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores spoke about fighting for migrant rights. She said that, at the last county commissioners’ meeting, they passed $1 million to help with legal aid for migrants.

Sandragrace Martinez, who has led the charge in organizing the memorial service, hopes people push for change so this doesn’t continue to happen.

“We are more united than we believe, and that we can turn tragedy into a story of hope and that these migrants did not die in vain. This is where we pivot. I’m making sure of that,” Martinez said.

When people visit the memorial, they will immediately notice the 53 crosses of those who lost their lives and also see photos of the victims and their names displayed.

Martinez says she’s working on a book to honor their stories.


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.