Washington – Eight young people have been found dead in a tractor-trailer in the US state of Texas in what police on Sunday called a “human trafficking crime.”
The vehicle was parked outside a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas, and police were alerted by a store employee who was approached by a person from the truck for water.
“We arrived on the scene and found eight people dead in the back of that trailer,” police chief William McManus told a press conference.
Eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, in what police on Sunday called a “human trafficking crime.” Photo: Edward A. Ornelas/SanAntonio Express-News via ZUMA/dpa
Twenty people from the trailer – listed in extremely critical or very serious condition – and eight more said to be not severe cases were taken to seven area hospitals, said fire chief Charles Hood.
He said they arrived at the scene at 00:26 am (0526 GMT) and found the bodies in the truck. The air-conditioning wasn’t working and people were severely dehydrated and suffering from heatstroke.
Hood said there were 38 people in the trailer – at least two of them were school-aged children and the others were in their 20s and 30s. It wasn’t immediately clear where they were from.
McManus said the driver was in custody.
When police checked surveillance video from the store, McManus said that “we found a number of vehicles that came in and picked up a lot of the folks” from the trailer who had survived.
The US Department of Homeland Security had also been alerted and was involved in the investigation to “determine the origin of this horrific tragedy,” he added.