TUCSON – The body of a 7-year-old girl from India was retrieved by U.S. Border Patrol agents 17 miles west of Lukeville on Wednesday.
The deceased child had reportedly been traveling with four other illegal aliens, who were dropped near the international boundary by human smugglers who ordered the group to cross in the dangerous and austere location, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Two adult women from India, alerted agents of a woman and two children, who had become separated from them hours earlier.
According to CBP, Agents took the two women into custody and began searching the area north of the international border in remote terrain, seven miles west of Quitobaquito Springs, for the woman and children. Agents discovered the little girl’s remains within hours. The body was then recovered by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in the area yesterday was approximately 108 degrees. The heat did not keep Border Patrol agents, members of the National Guard, and personnel from the Bureau of Land Management from launching an expanded search for the woman and child.
Late Wednesday night, Border Patrol agents located footprints indicating the remaining two members of the group crossed back into Mexico.
Mexican authorities continue to search the area for the woman and child.
According to CBP, 1 mile south of the where the girl’s body was found, Mexico’s Highway 2 runs parallel to the border, a few hundred yards south of the international boundary. On the U.S. side of the border, this remote area is a rugged desert wilderness with few backcountry roads and little to no resources.
According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in the area yesterday was approximately 108 degrees.
“Our sympathies are with this little girl and her family,” said Tucson Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal. “This is a senseless death driven by cartels who are profiting from putting lives at risk.”