8 were found dead inside a truck at a Texas Walmart — a ‘horrific’ case of suspected smuggling
SAN ANTONIO — Outside a Walmart in San Antonio early Sunday morning, authorities said, they discovered a sweltering tractor-trailer with dozens of people inside — eight of them dead and many more expected to have brain damage from severe heat.
“They discovered an alien smuggling venture gone horribly wrong. Eight immigrants were found dead,” Richard L. Durbin Jr., the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, wrote in a statement released by federal immigration authorities on Sunday morning. “All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo.”
Police Chief William McManus did not go quite so far when he spoke to reporters before dawn. But he said his homicide detective would work with federal immigration authorities to determine “the origin of this horrific tragedy.”
The truck had no working air conditioning or signs of water as it sat in the Walmart parking lot off Interstate 35 in south San Antonio, about 2½ hours from the border with Mexico, authorities said.
Surveillance footage recorded vehicles pulling up to the truck on Saturday night, taking people from the trailer and driving away, McManus said.
But at least 38 people remained locked inside, Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters, their hearts beating rapidly and their temperatures spiking — unless they had already died.
At some point, somehow, one of the passengers got out of the trailer and asked a Walmart employee for water.