Posted: Jun 30, 2014 6:57 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2014 8:53 PM
McALLEN - A young illegal immigrant died yards away from houses near La Joya. Those who live in the area believe he may have been searching for help.
Area residents think 11-year-old Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez got lost in the brush. The Guatemalan boy's body was found on June 15. Authorities said the body was badly decomposed. They used a telephone number they found on the back of his belt buckle to contact relatives and make a positive identification.
Jose Castaneda lives in the area. He said one his horses alerted him to the body.
"We were back here with the horses. The horse came to the body and started kicking and everything. We came and we saw the body," Castaneda said.
The horses got spooked and some ran away.
"You couldn't see his face. His stomach was open and everything," Castaneda said.
Castaneda didn't know it was an 11-year-old boy in the thorny bush. Investigators said they didn't expect someone so young to be there. The area is not a common spot for unaccompanied minors to cross.
"Every night I hear the dogs bark and the horses run ... it's always in the night. In the day it's calm, but at night there are a lot of dogs barking," Castaneda said.
Castaneda said he lost sleep for days. Images of the body were embedded into his mind.
Castaneda said he feels bad for the boy's family.