Mexico recovers body of Honduran migrant in Rio Grande; another body found near floating barrier

Aug 3, 2023, 6:07 AM

Migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico walk along large buoys being used as a floating border ...

Migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico walk along large buoys being used as a floating border barrier on the Rio Grande Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Eagle Pass, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities said Thursday that a Honduran migrant identified one of the two bodies recovered from the Rio Grande as her son.

But the 20-year-old Honduran man was not the body found near a floating barrier that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had installed in the river, across from Eagle Pass, Texas.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said a body recovered about 3 miles upriver from the buoys was tentatively identified as the Honduran man by his mother, but the body was badly decomposed and fingerprint tests would be needed for confirmation.

The department said the mother, who is at a migrant shelter in Piedras Negras, the Mexican border town across from Eagle Pass, said she recognized the tattoos on the body as her son’s.

It said there was still no word on the identity of the second person whose body was found in the river near the buoys. The department said no identification had been found on the body, and nobody had come forward to report the victim.

The Coahuila state prosecutor’s office is working to positively identify the bodies and determine the cause of death.

The department reported the first body found along the buoys between Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras on Wednesday evening, and immediately connected it to the risks Mexico had warned of before the barrier was installed.

Mexico said the Texas Department of Public Safety had advised its consulate of the body along the floating barrier. But it was unclear if that was the body that ultimately ended up lodged against the buoys by the force of the river.

“Preliminary information suggests this individual drowned upstream from the marine barrier and floated into the buoys,” said Steve McCraw, the DPS director. “There are personnel posted at the marine barrier at all times in case any migrants try to cross.”

Mexico and others have warned about the risks posed by the bright orange, wrecking ball-sized buoys put on the Rio Grande in an effort to make it more difficult for migrants to cross to the U.S. The Foreign Relations Department also contends the barrier violates treaties regarding the use of the river and Mexico’s sovereignty.

“We made clear our concern about the impact on migrants’ safety and human rights that these state policies would have,” the department said in its statement Wednesday night.

Andrew Mahaleris, spokesman for Abbott, said in a statement Thursday that “the Mexican government is flat-out wrong.” He said preliminary information indicates the person drowned before coming near the barriers.

He said the Texas Department of Public Safety previously reported to U.S. immigration agents that there was a body floating upstream from the barriers in the Rio Grande.

Mahaleris said Texas officers monitor the barriers and have not observed anyone attempting to cross since they were installed. “Unfortunately, drownings in the Rio Grande by people attempting to cross illegally are all too common,” he said.

The barrier was installed in July, and stretches roughly the length of three soccer fields. It is designed to make it more difficult for migrants to climb over or swim under the barrier.

The U.S. Justice Department is suing Abbott over the floating barrier. The lawsuit asks a court to force Texas to remove it. The Biden administration says the barrier raises humanitarian and environmental concerns.

The buoys are the latest escalation of Texas’ border security operation that also includes installing razor-wire fencing and arresting migrants on trespassing charges.

Migrant drownings occur regularly on the Rio Grande. Over the Fourth of July weekend, before the buoys were installed, four people, including an infant, drowned in the river near Eagle Pass.

Isabel Turcios, a nun who runs the Casa del Migrante shelter in Piedras Negras, said migrants continue crossing the river there even though authorities put razor wire under the bridge connecting the two countries and the buoy barrier a little farther downstream.

She said they typically cross under the bridge where the river is more shallow and then walk downstream to an opening in the razor wire. She said she didn’t know if people still tried to cross where the buoys were installed downriver.

“Tons of migrants are still arriving,” Turcios said. “Last night some 200 people slept (at the shelter). This morning 50 more have entered the shelter.”

She said many migrants decide to cross because they feel it takes too long for U.S. authorities to process applications to enter the U.S. legally.

She said her shelter was receiving a lot of Venezuelans, in many cases mothers with children, who stop only briefly to bathe, rest and then try to cross the river.


González reported from McAllen, Texas. Associated Press writer Acacia Coronado in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.


Associated Press

Former lawmaker who led Michigan marijuana board is sent to prison for bribery

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A man formerly known as a powerful Michigan lawmaker was sentenced Thursday to nearly five years in federal prison for accepting bribes as head of a marijuana licensing board. Rick Johnson admitted accepting at least $110,000 when he led the board from 2017 to 2019. “I am a corrupt politician,” […]

33 minutes ago

Associated Press

Former Colorado fugitive sentenced to prison for spectacular Caesars Palace standoff in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former fugitive from Colorado who pleaded guilty to causing a spectacular Las Vegas Strip hotel standoff that included furniture flying from a Caesars Palace window was sentenced Thursday to pay nearly $55,300 in restitution to the hotel and to serve up to four years of prison time. Matthew John Ermond […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

State officials in Michigan scratched from lawsuit over lead in Benton Harbor’s water

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday dismissed state officials from a lawsuit related to past lead contamination in a small southwestern Michigan city’s drinking water but said the case could proceed against city officials, including the mayor. Lawyers for residents compared Benton Harbor to Flint where lead contaminated the city’s water […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Plane that crashed, killing Rep. Peltola’s husband, had over 500 pounds of meat and antlers on board

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The small plane that crashed in rural Alaska earlier this month, killing the husband of U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, was carrying more than 500 pounds of moose meat and antlers from a remote hunting camp when it went down shortly after takeoff, according to an investigation report released Thursday. Eugene Peltola […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Menendez tells Senate colleagues he won’t resign, remains defiant amid bribery charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez remained defiant in the face of federal bribery charges on Thursday, telling a room full of his Senate Democratic colleagues that he has no plans to resign. Speaking behind closed doors at the Capitol, Menendez echoed his previous public statements in response to last week’s indictment, according […]

4 hours ago

Wounded ethnic Armenian man named Sasha, 84 years-old, from Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh is helped...

Associated Press

Over half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population flees as the separatist government says it will dissolve

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The separatist government of Nagorno-Karabakh said Thursday it will dissolve itself and the unrecognized republic will cease to exist by year’s end after a three-decade bid for independence, while Armenian officials said over half of the region’s population has already fled. The moves came after Azerbaijan carried out a lightning offensive […]

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Mexico recovers body of Honduran migrant in Rio Grande; another body found near floating barrier