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Body cam footage

Body camera footage shows rescue attempt of migrant father, son stranded in brush lands


By Marybel Gonzalez

SULLIVAN CITY, Texas - (KGBT) - During the summer months, temperatures in the Rio Grande Valley can peak to triple digits.

But that does not deter people from risking their lives by crossing the border illegally on foot and through rough South Texas terrain.

CBS 4 obtained body camera video of a responding Sullivan City police officer that captures the moments leading up to the rescue of two migrants traveling from Mexico. The migrants were identified as 20-year-old Efrain and 40-year-old Santos, and they are father and son.

The incident happened in July after Sullivan City police dispatch center received a 911 call from a person in distress. The person on the line could not provide their exact location as they were out in the private ranchlands where there were no landmarks, except for a border patrol surveillance blimp and a two story-building off in the distance.

Based on descriptions, police could track the general area where the two stranded men could be.

“I was pretty lucky that I was able to find them that quick,” said responding officer Ricardo Rosas. “Unfortunately, when I found them, the father was already gasping for air.

The call was placed by Efrain after he and his father were lost for two days. According to police, the two had been abandoned by a smuggler after Santos fell ill due excessive heat and dehydration.

From the time the emergency call was placed to when police officers were able to locate the father and son, about 30 minutes had passed.

In the video, captured from the perspective of Rosas, Santos appears incohesive and unable to move. Efrain can be heard saying that Santos can no longer can recognize his son and that he couldn’t remember the last time either of them had a drink of water.

Minutes later, border patrol agents were able to locate Rosas and the migrants. With the help of Rosas and Efrain himself, they place Santos on a stretcher.

But despite these efforts, Santos later died while he was being airlifted to a local hospital, according to police.

Rosas says emergency calls like these are on the rise for the small police department.

So far this year, Border Patrol agents have assisted in the rescues of approximately 1,300 migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. During this same time period, around 70 migrants have died while doing so, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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