Immigrant's decomposed body identified

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 7:49am

Authorities are working to get the body of a Guatemalan boy back to his family.

"The father also indicated to our investigators that his son was released to a human smuggler; a coyote," Hidalgo County Interim Sheriff Eddie Guerra said.

Hidalgo County Sheriff's Deputies found the decomposed body of Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez on June 15 in the city of La Joya.

It had been hiding in some brush for about two weeks. Nobody had heard from him in nearly a month.

"Our investigation in this matter is kind of strange, because this was found in an area where normally the unaccompanied minors are not crossing over," Guerra said.

Juarez had been wearing black boots, a white rosary around the neck, and a pair of jeans held up with a brown belt. Three phone numbers were found on him, but the most important number was on the back of the belt buckle.

The number led to Juarez's brother in Chicago. Juarez last called the number was when he was in Reynosa in late May. Juarez was supposed to call his brother when he got across the border. They had plans to meet up in the Windy City.

Instead, the brother got a call from investigators. He gave them the phone number to their dad in Guatemala.

"A sworn statement was obtained from the pursuing father of the deceased male, who provided the specific clothing description of what his son was last seen (wearing)," Guerra said.

No official cause of death has been given, but the Sheriff says it's likely heat stroke. Investigators do not yet know how Juarez ended up alone in the brush.

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