JammedUp News


Report: 12 migrant deaths recorded in Southern Arizona Desert in 2018

March 10, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Report: 12 migrant deaths recorded in Southern Arizona Desert in 2018 Screenshot

Are you in a legal jam? Find a Lawyer, Bail Bondsman or Private Investigator on JammedUp.

A non-profit organization that tracks deaths of immigrants in the southern Arizona desert area of the state reported that 12 were killed this year after crossing over from Mexico.

Authorities located the bodies between January 2nd and February 27th.

The report was released by the Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants, which is a collaborative effort involving the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, or Pima County OME, and Humane Borders, Inc.

“All of the migrants have not yet been identified as their remains had decomposed by the time they were found. This makes ascertaining the identity of the deceased, where they are from, and the time and cause of death difficult to figure out, Pima County Medical Examiner Dr. Gregory Hess said to Breitbart Texas on Monday.

“We have been experiencing this problem for a long time,” Dr. Hess said. “When the migrants attempt to walk through the desert, there is not much margin for error. If something goes wrong, it can be very dangerous.”

Hess added that his county processes the bodies of roughly 160 migrants annually. He verified the deaths of the 12 so far this year and noted that they are proceeding their efforts to identify them.

“The bodies that are exposed to the elements can decompose quickly,” the medical examiner stated. “In a month, the birds and animals will leave behind skeletal remains.”

Art students are trying to help identify the bodies found in southern Arizona.

A map shows the migrant deaths in southern Arizona in 2018. (Map: Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants)

Recently, sculptors from the New York Academy of Art created 3D facial reconstructions of eight men found after they died while illegally crossing the border. The skulls are in the Pima County, Arizona, medical examiner’s office because authorities are still not able to name the victims.

Along with the sculptures, the students are using 3D technology to create images using information provided by medical examiners, including the predicted height, weight, sex, nationality, and ages of the missing individuals. After the creation of the likeness of the deceased, pictures are taken and are sent to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).

Border Patrol agents recover roughly 50% of the remains during routine patrols, Hess said. “The remainder are discovered by hunters, hikers, and ATV riders.”

Most of the deaths take place from exposure and lack of water. Hess said they sometimes find evidence of murders caused by gunshot wounds or other trauma. Between the Fiscal Years of 2000 and 2017, a little over 80 migrants were killed from gunshot wounds.

The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Annual Report published in 2016 indicated that the majority of deaths take place between May and September.

When Breitbart Texas inquired about the impact of border security in migrant deaths Dr. Hess seemed to be neutral.

“Time will tell if this push for border security will make a difference,” Hess replied. “Regardless of the administration, the deaths keep coming.”

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier’s office is also affected by the deaths of migrants and the subsequent finding of their remains.

“Open borders policies are not compassionate public policy,” Sheriff Napier said to Breitbart Texas. “When we encourage illegal border crossing we are creating a human rights tragedy. These migrants are victimized by bandits, human smuggling coyotes, and the harsh elements of this region. Securing the border will prevent deaths and victimization of border crossers,” Napier added. “Securing the border is compassionate public policy.”

Immigrant deaths are not the only way that they are victimized while crossing the border. “I hear from sources that women expect to be sexually assaulted during the crossing process,” the sheriff stated. “They see it as part of the price to pay for admission.”

“We need to talk about border security not only national security but compassionate public policy,” Napier added. “We should discuss ‘the wall’ as an analogous term referring to various aspects of security that include manpower, barriers, technology, other resources.”

Get the latest news from the world of crime