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Bodies may be linked to earlier group

November 19, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

CARRIZO WASH — The five undocumented immigrants whose remains were found here Saturday were part of a group of 14 immigrants that attempted to cross the border in late June or early July, according to the county Coroner's Office.

Of that group, it is believed that one member survived, said county Coroner Investigator Deputy Gary Hayes, basing that conclusion on reports from the Mexican consulate in Calexico.

That man reportedly made his way to Los Angeles, where he called the families of the others in his group in Chiapas, Mexico to say the others were missing, Hayes said this morning.

If those reports are true, that means 13 people in the same group died in the harsh desert during the summer, when temperatures soared over 100 degrees.

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Hayes went into the desert Sunday to retrieve the remains of the five. Four were men and one was a woman.

The woman was 22, one of the men was 40 and the three other men were in their 20s.

All have been identified based on documents found with the bodies, but the identities will not be released until their families have been notified. As of this morning the families had not been notified.

Hayes said the bodies were found within a few feet of each other. He added jugs with water were found around the bodies, along with canned foods, electrolytes to add to the water and camping gear.

He added it is not surprising the deaths occurred despite the fact the group had food and water.

He said summer temperatures here are so intense that the body can dehydrate and begin to shut down even if there is water available for those suffering heat exposure.

Hayes added based on the investigation as of this morning, there appears to be a connection to the five found Saturday and other bodies found in the Carrizo Wash area during the summer.

He said one of the bodies found Saturday was wearing a red soccer uniform with shorts. He said some of the bodies found during the summer were wearing similar soccer outfits.

Hayes said it is thought each group member died from heat exposure.

There was no more information available on the one person in the group who was thought to have survived.

There also was no information on whether this group was led in by a smuggler.

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

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