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Bodies found in desert as mercury rises

May 14, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

With temperatures already starting to climb above 100 degrees, county Coroner's Office officials reported this morning they are starting to see more people perish as they try to cross into the country illegally.

Two more bodies were found locally between Friday and Sunday in the desert, as was a human skull and jawbone.

The first body was spotted by U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Palm Canyon area east of Interstate 8 near In-Ko-Pah.

While the body was found about 5:30 p.m. Friday, it was not moved during the weekend. Sheriff's Sgt. Rick Macken, county chief deputy coroner, said he was going to fly in a Border Patrol helicopter this morning to recover the body.

He said the body was thought to be that of an undocumented immigrant because of the area in which it was found.

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Border Patrol agents found the body of another man under a row of trees near the Westside Main Canal in the Seeley area at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Documents found on the body have led officials to identify the man as an undocumented immigrant. Macken said the man, whose name was not released, had airline tickets that showed he flew from Mexico City to Tijuana.

The man was thought to have been dead for several days and it was thought he died from hyperthermia, a condition brought on by exposure to heat.

A U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger found a human skull and jawbone at noon Saturday near Kane Springs Road in the Salton Sea area.

While Macken said there is no way to determine whether the bones found were those of an undocumented immigrant, he did say it is a high traffic area for illegal immigration.

The discoveries this weekend followed the death of an undocumented immigrant Thursday who he fell some 200 feet while walking though a mountainous area in western Imperial County.

Macken said his office is starting to see an increase in deaths and it is only going to get worse as the heat increases during the summer.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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