Posted: Jun 30, 2014 11:21 AM
Updated: Jun 30, 2014 2:54 PM
LA JOYA - The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office identified a body found earlier this month as an 11-year-old boy from Guatemala.
The remains of 11-year-old Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez were found outside La Joya on June 15. Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said this is the first time his officers found someone so young dead in the brush.
Authorities learned his age, name and native county with the help of a phone number he had on him and the Guatemalan consulate's office. We're told he's a twin from Guatemala.
The sheriff told us the boy's badly decomposed body was discovered in the brush in the area of Patricio Perez Road and Nopal Street. He was wearing blue jeans, black boots, a rosary and a belt. Officers also found three phone numbers on him.
The most important one was in the back of his belt. It led to his brother, who's living in Chicago. He told investigators the boy left Guatemala in late May with a group of people and a human smuggler. The last time the 11-year-old's brother heard from him was when he was in Reynosa.
Guerra said, "The pathologist believes because of the way we found the body, he had no shirt, which indicates that's a sign of heat stroke; however, we're still pending toxicology report from the pathologist."
The sheriff added they received word last week from the boy's relatives and from the Guatemalan consulate confirming the boy's identity. Investigators are still trying to piece together all of their information.
They're trying to figure out how the 11-year-old ended up in the brush alone and who was responsible for illegally bringing him into the U.S.
Meanwhile, the sheriff wanted to take this opportunity to send a message to people crossing illegally into the U.S. about the dangers involved. With the summer temperatures, he's concerned more deaths like this will happen.