Deaths in Carrizo Wash may be related

August 31, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The Imperial County Coroner's Office is investigating whether several immigrant deaths within the same time period this summer in a section of the county's western desert are related.

Included in that investigation is a suspected murder, said county Coroner Investigator Gary Hayes.

The investigation was launched after the bodies of several illegal immigrants were found in the Carrizo Wash area, a common route for illegal immigration. The specific number of deaths in that area was unavailable this morning.

Hayes said while the bodies were found at different times, each of the deaths was thought to have occurred in the same time period, prompting authorities to suspect all the immigrants had been part of the same group.

Hayes spoke of the investigation a day after the body of a man thought to be an undocumented immigrant was found in the Carrizo Wash area.


Authorities had yet to identify the body or determine the cause of death. It is suspected the man died from heat exposure.

The body was found by military contractors working in the area, Hayes said.

Hayes said the man likely died about a month ago.

Earlier this summer it was reported the body of another man found in the area had sparked a murder investigation. There were indications the man had been strangled.

Hayes said it is possible the murder case and the other deaths in the area may be related.

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

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