Pair charged in migrant death during U-Haul transport

A Rio Rancho woman and a man from Mexico are facing charges in the death of a migrant they were transporting in a U-Haul truck last week, according to court documents.

Alexis Lovato, 24, and Cristian Mora-Hernandez, 22, are charged with “transporting illegal aliens resulting in death” in the July 22 incident, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The pair will remain behind bars pending a detention hearing July 29.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court:
On July 22, Otero County Sheriff’s Office responded around 11:45 a.m. to reports of people jumping “in and out” of the back of a U-Haul truck at a travel center in Tularosa.

The Tularosa Police chief found the U-Haul and was told by the driver, Lovato, that they needed medical help. Police found a woman unconscious and not breathing in the middle of the front seat of the truck and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police found seven people in the cargo area and determined they were migrants from Ecuador and Mexico. In an interview with Border Patrol, Lovato said the passenger, Mora-Hernandez, directed her to the place where they picked up the eight people and loaded them into the cargo area.

She told agents that, as they were driving, the migrants said there was a woman “showing signs of distress.”

“Lovato told agents that she heard they pay a lot to come here and she was trying to help,” an agent wrote in the affidavit.

Mora-Hernandez told agents he didn’t know Lovato and went with her to “provide help.” He said the people in the cargo area started hitting the wall of the truck “asking for help.”

Mora-Hernandez told agents they stopped and he saw that migrants were trying to help a woman on her back. He said he had 2 gallons of water and attempted to “cool off” the woman by pouring it on her.

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