Posted: Jun 30, 2014 6:15 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2014 8:54 PM
EDINBURG - A telephone number on the back of a belt buckle helped Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department investigators identify the body of a young illegal immigrant.
Interim Sheriff Jose E. Guerra said the body was badly decomposed. The telephone number on the buckle led them to the 11-year-old boy's brother in Chicago.
"Three phone numbers were located on the body. One in particular was located behind the belt buckle. Through further investigation, contact was made via one of the phone numbers to a person that identified himself as the brother of the 11-year-old male," Guerra said.
The man identified the body as that of Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez of Guatemala.
"The brother in Chicago gave us the phone number to his father in Guatemala," Guerra said.
"Through the joint efforts with the Guatemalan consulate, the sworn statement was obtained from the presumed father of the deceased male who provided the specific clothing description of what his son was last seen wearing," Guerra said.
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. The body was discovered on June 15.
Guerra said the body had no shirt.
"The pathologist believes ... that's a sign of heatstroke; however we're still pending a toxicology report from the pathologist," Guerra said.
"I don't know if you've seen a body in the hot sun for two weeks. The remains, as far as the tissue, is pretty bad. It's just solid black," Guerra said.
Investigators are not certain, but they believe the boy was headed to Chicago to be with his brother. His father had told him to contact the number on his belt buckle as soon as he crossed into the United States.