SAN ANTONIO — Yazmín Nayarith Bueso Nuñez, a single mother from Honduras, had reassured her father that she would be safe on what she said was a “special trip” to the United States
She was identified as one of 53 people who died inside a tractor-trailer rig found abandoned on the side of a San Antonio road on Monday, Telemundo News reported.
As of Thursday, 10 survivors remained hospitalized and one had been released.
“No words,” said his distraught father, José Santos Bueso. He had urged her not to go, but she had told him it was a special trip.
“I was there, girl,” the Associated Press told her, referring to the trip he himself once made across the border. “There are no special trips.”
She told him the smuggler would make $15,000, the AP reported.
Tales of the humble hopes that drove people to leave their homes and families and risk an unhappy journey continue to emerge as authorities slowly identify the dead and reunite with their loved ones.
Many victims had no papers or came from remote areas of Latin America.
Bueso’s brother, Erik Rodríguez, 37, said his sister wanted to go to the United States, work to give her teenage son a chance to go to college and one day own a house. She was also seeking treatment for lupus, he said.
A father, Minor Cardona, from Guatemala, learned that his 20-year-old daughter was among the survivors, Telemundo News reported.
“It’s a joy and a blessing,” he said.
Roberto Quintero was one of the first to see the grim scene on Monday. A friend had alerted him to the truck and the bodies inside. He said the truck doors were open when he arrived. He knew that many had died from their discoloration.
A young girl was on the ground pounding the sidewalk for help. He gave her water and called 911, he told Telemundo.
Federal charges released at a Thursday court hearing say one of the men arrested in the case told a government informant that the tractor-trailer’s air conditioning stopped working without the driver’s knowledge, a reported the Washington Post.
Federal authorities have identified the driver as Hector Zamorano Jr., 45, who made his first federal court appearance Thursday on one count of illegally transporting immigrants, which carries a life sentence or death if found guilty.
Three other people have been charged in the case, including Christian Martinez, 28, who texted the driver. He became more freaked out in texts when he couldn’t hear the driver.
The tragic deaths have stirred emotions in San Antonio, a city with a large Latin American population that is mostly Mexican. Many in the city have strong immigrant roots or family that resided in the state while it was part of Mexico.
The city has a track record of compassion for immigrants and empathy for their plight.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio held a memorial mass Thursday evening at the historic San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio, founded in 1731.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, who presided over the Mass, called for immigration reform in his bilingual homily, the San Antonio Express-News reported. He urged people to “create political incentives for our elected representatives to fulfill their duty to enact comprehensive immigration reform.”
García-Siller had been pushing for a political change of heart on immigration after visiting some of the victims in hospital the night after the truck was discovered. “The bottom line is that people have been let down,” he told NBC News this week.
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