Nearly one year later, dozens gather on Quintana Road remembering the 53 lost lives

Community members read the names of the 53 people who were abandoned in a trailer and died on June 27, 2022

SAN ANTONIO – Tuesday marks one year since 53 migrants were abandoned in a tractor-trailer on Quintana Road and died. A memorial still stands honoring and remembering the lives lost.

“They deserve to be remembered every single day,” Karissa Martinez said. “This memorial right there will always be a place that’s like a family can come and just sit and be with their loved ones regardless of what happened.”

Karissa Martinez was one of the dozens of community members that honored the 53 people on Sunday with a rosary reading and memorial. Standing in front of the makeshift memorial on Quintana Road, volunteers played the national anthem of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico and read all 53 names.

San Antonio authorities found the 18-wheeler on June 27, 2022. The tragedy is deemed the largest mass casualty event in San Antonio’s history. Officials declared 48 people dead in the tractor-trailer. In the days that followed, five more people died.

All of the migrants taken to the hospitals were reportedly suffering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Karissa Martinez helped Sunday to paint a mural with all 53 names prominently displayed.

“We just wanted to bring a little bit of color,” Karissa Martinez said. “We just wanted to represent each of their names. They were mothers, brothers, fathers and sons.”

Volunteers, like Angie Olvera, work to keep the memorial standing on a weekly basis. During the memorial service, community members prayed the rosary and asylum-seeker advocate Sandragrace Martinez showed shoes and clothing items she kept from the day of the tragedy.

“We have a duty to remember,” Sandragrace Martinez said. “To remember why they came or why they died the way they died. A duty to remember how it affected the family, their family, our family and our community. All the way across the planet.”

Martinez said she saved a few of the original memorial items and is looking for a place to show the stories of these 53 people in San Antonio.

But, city councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia said plans are in the works for a more permanent memorial.

To read the list of names for all 53 migrants, click here.

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About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

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.

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