Texas Border Patrol agents made a shocking discovery on Sunday night, locating the bodies of a young woman and three children near Hidalgo County. The news was first reported by local law enforcement.
In a Twitter statement on Sunday evening, Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said deputies were on scene by the Rio Grande River southeast of the Anzalduas Park in Las Paloma Wildlife Management area where, he said, border patrol agents had “located four deceased bodies.”
The bodies, Guerra said, appeared to be “two infants, a toddler and a [20-year-old] female.”
The Hidalgo County sheriff said deputies were waiting on FBI agents to arrive and lead the investigation.
It is still unclear how the woman and young children died—or whether they died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Newsweek has contacted the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, as well as the FBI and Hidalgo County Sheriff’s department for more information. CBP said it would get back with more information “as soon as possible.”
Guerra’s statement on the deaths came ten hours after the sheriff warned of a “dangerous heat advisory,” asserting that people in the area should “avoid outdoor activities,” with temperatures expected to soar to between 104 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
With many questions yet to be answered around the deaths, immigration advocacy groups hit out at the Trump administration over the incident, with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) blaming President Donald Trump’s policies for the incident.
“[Three] more dead children. Trump’s tried so hard to stop people from getting to the border. This is the result,” RAICES said in a Twitter statement, sharing Guerra’s post.
“How many more will die before we stop criminalizing newcomers and instead treat them with humanity,” the immigration advocacy group said. “No one fleeing for their lives should have to put their life in danger.”
Since September, U.S. immigration authorities have seen at least six children die after being apprehended by Border Patrol agents at the border.
In May, 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant Carlos Gregorio Hernandez died after being diagnosed with the flu. A two-and-a-half-year-old Guatemalan boy also died just over a month after being detained by CBP officials while showing signs of illness.
That same month, it was also revealed a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador with a history of congenital heart defects had died the previous September.
In April, Guatemalan 16-year-old Juan De León Gutierrez died in hospital due to complications with a brain hemorrhage while still in federal custody.
Meanwhile, December marked the deaths of two young children, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, eight, and Jakelin Caal Maquin, seven, who died weeks apart in separate incidents having come to the U.S. from Guatemala with family members.
The repeated deaths of migrant children apprehended at the U.S. border has sparked widespread outrage across the country, with immigration advocacy groups and lawmakers demanding improved health screenings for children taken into federal custody.
Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz repeatedly called for the Trump administration to prioritize health screenings for children, with the lawmaker introducing legislation earlier this month that would ensure funds for CBP are tied to the agency meeting humanitarian standards on medical screenings, as well as shelter, nutrition and water provisions.