The body of a 7-year-old girl believed to be from India was found in a remote desert area in Arizona, the US Customs and Border Protection said.
Authorities said the girl was trying to cross into the United States with a group of people from her country. Her body was discovered 17 miles west of Lukeville.
She’d been traveling with several others, and was trying to get into the US after human smugglers dropped them near the Mexico border, the agency said in a statement Thursday. Temperatures in the rugged wilderness where she was found hovered around 108 degrees Wednesday, the day officials discovered her body.
Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents got the information on her last moments from two women from India. They told officials they’d been separated from a woman and two children hours earlier while trying to enter the United States.
“Agents took the two women into custody and began searching the area north of the international border in remote terrain seven miles west of Quitobaquito Springs,” the agency said in a statement. “Within hours, they discovered the little girl’s remains.”
After a search involving helicopters for the other people she’d been traveling with, agents found footprints indicating they’d returned to Mexico.
“Our sympathies are with this little girl and her family,” Tucson Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal said. “This is a senseless death driven by cartels who are profiting from putting lives at risk.”
Customs and Border Protection agents along with Mexican authorities are searching both sides of the border for anyone associated with the group.