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Migrant child remains tell story of dangerous path from Central America to US

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Migrant child remains tell story of dangerous path from Central America to US

By Simone Del Rosario. CREATED Jun 10, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - With so many children away from their families and in holding at a Nogales border station, it begs the question: How did they get here?

The Border Patrol apprehends tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors at the border every year, and the numbers keep rising. 

At the morgue in Pima County, very few border crossers who perish in the desert are children. But when one is discovered, people wonder how a child could end up in such a dangerous situation alone. 

Omar is one of those children, a border crosser who never made it to his destination. 

"People start asking questions about why that person was crossing; what happened to them; why were they not successful; why did they want to cross in the first place; where were their family members involved in that process?" said Dr. Gregory Hess, Pima County Medical Examiner. "Omar was one of those."

The story of 13-year-old Omar started unfolding in the medical examiner's cooler. A body -- unidentified for two years -- Omar was traveling from Guatemala to Phoenix to reunite with his mother, but never made it. 

In the documentary, "Borderland," broadcast by Al Jazeera America, they follow Omar's journey. 

His mother had paid a coyote $800 to bring Omar across the border, but he and an older neighbor fell behind. 

Agents found their remains in the desert and brought them to the medical examiner, where at this moment, lie 90 unidentified border crossers. 

More children, like Omar, are making the trecherous journey north. 

In fiscal year 2011, Border Patrol apprehended 16,000 unaccompanied minors. By 2013, that number had more than doubled. 

In 2014, the numbers are expected to be even more staggering. Already exceeding last year's total, border patrol authorities have estimated they could apprehend up to 90,000 minors traveling alone this year. 

Simone Del Rosario

Simone Del Rosario

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Simone is the KGUN 9 On Your Side resident cowgirl. She has spent most of her life on the back of a horse, and spent all of her high school and college years traveling from rodeo to rodeo with her horses and her dog, Roper.