SAN ANTONIO – It’s been nearly a year since 53 migrants died in the back of a tractor-trailer on San Antonio’s Southwest Side.
Their lives have been honored in a makeshift memorial.
Nearly a year since 53 lives were lost here on Quintana Rd. They came seeking a new life but their journey ended tragically in the back of a tractor trailer. Tonight on the #nightbeat how they’re lives are being honored pic.twitter.com/axbgJVhP2x— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) June 14, 2023
“I look at the sky and I wonder where are they? Do they see me?” Karen Caballero said through a translator.
For almost a year, Caballero has mourned her sons, 18-year-old Fernando, 23-year-old Alejandro, and his wife, 25-year-old Margie.
Caballero spoke with us over the phone but wasn’t comfortable showing her face as she is seeking asylum in another country.
“I see that the anniversary date of his death is approaching. I see broken dreams,” Caballero said.
Over the past 12 months, Caballero has shared her children’s stories, dreams, and plans for a new life with Sandragrace Martinez.
“Young individuals that are professionals having engineering degrees, you know, in graphic design,” Martinez said.
Martinez has made it her mission to learn about all 53 lives lost and write about them in a book, sharing their stories with their families.
“We also have this greater understanding, hopefully through this book, that these were human beings that lost their lives,” Martinez said.
The crosses on the books and along Quintana Road symbolize the lives ended by the oppressive heat and desperation for a new life.
The tragedy fell within city councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia’s district, where she said plans are in the works for a permanent memorial.
“The 53 markers is the idea right now with those names and country of origin would be the way to commemorate that. Possibly a plaque as well,” Rocha Garcia said.
Martinez is still looking for a publisher for her book. She said the proceeds will go toward the memorial and legal funds to help migrants and their families.
On June 25th, there is a rosary planned to honor the 53 lives lost.
It’ll be held at 3 p.m. near the 9600 block of Quintana Road, where the migrants were found in the 18-wheeler.