Death toll in immigrant smuggling case rises

-
UPDATE 5 p.m.
 
Federal authorities say charges will be filed against a Florida man in connection to the deaths of nine people found in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer outside a San Antonio Walmart.
 
U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin Jr. released a statement Sunday saying 60-year-old James Mathew Bradley Jr. of Clearwater, Florida, is in federal custody in San Antonio.
 
Durbin says Bradley is expected to make a court appearance after a criminal complaint is filed Monday.
 
Durbin's office wouldn't say whether Bradley was the alleged driver of the truck. Authorities said earlier Sunday that the driver was in custody.
 
Durbin's office says Bradley will have a charge or charges filed against him in the criminal complaint. 
 
A call to a phone number listed for a James Bradley in Clearwater rang unanswered Sunday.
 
   ------
 
   3:30 p.m.
 
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has lowered the death toll of people found in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer outside of a San Antonio Walmart from 10 to nine. 
 
Thomas Homan, the agency's acting director, had told The Associated Press that two people died in a hospital. But agency spokeswoman Liz Johnson says only one person died at a hospital.
 
Eight dead bodies were found in the truck, bringing the total number of dead to nine.
 
   ------
 
2:45 p.m.
 
A U.S. official says the death toll from people found in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer in the parking lot of a San Antonio Walmart has risen to 10.
 
Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told The Associated Press that two people died in a hospital. Eight dead bodies were found in the truck.
 
Based on initial interviews with survivors, Homan says there may have been more than 100 people in the truck. Thirty-eight were found inside. The rest are believed to have fled or been picked up.
 
Homan says some survivors have identified themselves as Mexican nationals. Four of the passengers are believed to be between 10 and 17 years old, and at least one of them is in serious condition.
 
   ------
 
   1:10 p.m.
 
Authorities say 30 people have been taken to the hospital after they were found in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer with in the parking lot of a San Antonio Walmart. Eight others died in what police are calling "a human trafficking crime." 
 
Twenty are said to be in extremely critical or serious condition, many suffering from extreme dehydration and heat stroke. Others had lesser injuries.
 
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood says the trailer didn't have a working air conditioning system and the victims "were very hot to the touch." 
 
Police Chief William McManus says some of those in the truck ran into the woods, leading to a search. He says many of the truck's occupants appeared to be in their 20s and 30s but that there were also what appeared to be two school-age children.
 
Officials said the truck driver was arrested. The U.S. Homeland Security Department is taking the lead in the investigation.
 
---

Several other people have been taken to hospitals. The driver of the truck was arrested, according to officials. 

San Antonio-based U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin Jr. says those responsible for the deaths of eight people inside a sweltering tractor-trailer truck outside a San Antonio Walmart store are "ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo."
 
Durbin says those inside the truck were helpless in the punishing 100-degree-plus (37.78-Celsius) heat and were victims of a "smuggling venture gone horribly wrong."

San Antonio police say a Walmart employee was approached in a parking lot by a person from the truck who was asking for water late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Police say the employee gave the person the water and then called them and when they arrived they found the eight people dead in the back of the trailer.

Police say they checked surveillance video, which shows vehicles had arrived and picked up other people from the tractor-trailer. They say they're "looking at a human trafficking crime."

Police say the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is involved in the investigation into what happened.

After daybreak Sunday, the truck remained at the side and toward the back of the store. The scene is marked off with yellow crime-scene tape and with officers and patrol cars. The trailer of the 18-wheeler truck has an Iowa license plate. Neither it nor the truck's cab appear to have markings.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Death toll in immigrant smuggling case rises
  • Researchers find rare 2-headed turtle
  • Ocala woman has unusual service animal
  • Man charged in Frank Rizzo statue vandalism
  • Winston solid, Bucs topple Jaguars 12-8 in preseason game
  • U.S. Marine's U-Haul stolen while moving to Santa Rosa
  • Compassionate sheriff's sergeant treats hungry family to a meal
  • Instead of giving ticket, officer helps fix broken tail light
  • 2017 Solar Eclipse: Safety tips for driving during the Great American Eclipse
  • Eclipse deals and specials