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Mother Asked Young Migrant Not to Leave Home

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Posted: Jul 1, 2014 6:27 PM

Updated: Jul 1, 2014 6:46 PM

WESLACO - The mother of an 11-year-old boy who died near the banks of the Rio Grande said she urged him not to leave their native Guatemala.

Authorities say Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez succumbed to heatstroke about a mile away from houses near La Joya. An area resident discovered the body on June 16.

Gilberto's body will be sent back to Guatemala once Hidalgo County issues a death certificate.

A telephone number on the back of Gilberto's belt buckle helped Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department investigators identify the body.

Interim Sheriff Jose E. Guerra said the body was badly decomposed. The telephone number on the buckle led them to the boy's brother in Chicago.

The man told investigators Gilberto was travelling with a group of illegal immigrants, including his uncle and a human smuggler. The uncle was reportedly detained by the feds after crossing the border.

The man in Chicago said the last time he heard from his brother was when he called from Reynosa in late May.

Guerra said there were no signs of trauma on the body. Investigators now want to know if Gilberto was abandoned by the smuggler.

The Guatemalan consul in McAllen said the country's ministry of foreign affairs will meet with the family in that country to answer their questions and offer their condolences.

Topics: guatemala, immigration, gilberto francisco ramos juarez, rio grande valley, border patrol, la joya

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