U.S. Customs and Border Protection Press Release
VAN HORN – On Thursday, March 19, Big Bend Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Van Horn station found the body of a man they had been searching for since the previous Saturday.
On March 14, the Culberson County Sheriff's Office contacted the Border Patrol concerning a 911 call they received from a man claiming to be lost in the Vieja Mountains south of Van Horn.
Van Horn station agents and a CBP Office of Air and Marine helicopter air crew responded to the area and located the lost man who had run out of food and water. The man, a Mexican Citizen from Chihuahua, Chihuahua, was in the country illegally. He claimed to have crossed the Rio Grande River with another man several days before. The rescued man said the other man became ill and turned around and walked back toward Mexico two days earlier.
As agents began to search for the second man they received additional information from an anonymous caller about a man who was lost, possibly ill and in need of assistance in the same general area as the man that was rescued. The caller also provided a name.
The Big Bend Sector International Liaison Unit made contact with the Mexican Consulate and the Government of Mexico's search, trauma and rescue unit, Grupo Beta, to assist from the Mexican side of the border and to establish contact with family members.
Van Horn agents and the air crew continued searching throughout the day and night with no success.
On Thursday afternoon, agents searching in the area of "Diez y Ocho Draw" found the body that fit the clothing description which was given by the rescued alien. The Presidio County Sheriff's Office was contacted. Sheriff's Deputies and Justice of the Peace David Beebee responded to the location at about 5 p.m. Identification documents in the deceased's pockets identified him as the missing man. The Presidio County Sheriff's Office took custody of the body and is leading the investigation.
Since the beginning of the fiscal year, October 1, 2015, there have been four cases of undocumented aliens who have died trying to enter the country illegally in the Big Bend Sector. The most recent, on February 28 and March 1, occurred when hunters found the bodies of two Honduran citizens on a local ranch west of Marfa.
The landscape of the Big Bend Sector is rugged and desolate. Weather conditions in the late winter and spring can change rapidly, from sunny and warm to below freezing with rain, in a matter of hours. Many undocumented aliens that are apprehended or rescued are unprepared for the weather and the long distances they must travel on foot. Running out of food and water is a common occurrence.
The Big Bend Sector maintains a Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) unit which is designed to rescue agents and aliens in distress. The sector also has Border Patrol agent EMT's at many of its stations who respond to medical emergencies.
Through its International Liaison efforts with the Government of Mexico, the United States Border Patrol is active in communicating the dangers of crossing the border illegally to potential crossers.