ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — 13-year-old from Mexico was trying to find help.
After 46-year-old Adela Hernandez collapsed near Sunland Park last week, her 13-year-old son, Julio Hernandez, dragged her body across the desert trying to find help, the El Paso Times is reporting today on its Web site.
Sunland Park police were called to the Santa Teresa Immediate Care Center last Thursday after someone called to report a body behind the center, and Adela Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene, the Times reported.
Border Patrol agents arrived at the scene in time to find a group of illegal immigrants the Hernandezes had been traveling with, and they arrested three men who tried to flee from the group, the paper said.
Border Patrol spokesman Doug Mosier told the Times that several people from what he described as a "sizable" group had taken part in dragging the body of Adela Hernandez, who appeared to have died of dehydration or exposure to heat.
But Socorro Cordova, spokeswoman for the Mexican consulate in El Paso, told the paper that 13-year-old Julio had to act on his own.
"He was all alone carrying her for ways to ask for help," Cordova told the Times. "This is a real tragedy."
The boy was reunited this week in Juarez with his 21-year-old sister Maribel Hernandez, and the two returned to their home in central Mexico, consular officials told the Times.
After the Mexican consulate took custody of the boy, he was taken to a shelter for abandoned children in Juarez, where he waited for his sister to arrive, the paper said.
Cordova told the Times that the Hernandezes had been on their way to Florida where the woman’s husband was living as an undocumented immigrant. According to Cordova, they weren’t planning to stay in the United States illegally but to talk Hernandez into returning to Mexico, the paper said.
Meanwhile, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Las Cruces told the Times they were looking for the smugglers who brought in the Hernandezes’ group, saying they would face enhanced charges because the immigrant-smuggling resulted in a death.