Eight people were horrifically found dead with 30 others injured inside a ‘sweltering’ semi-trailer parked overnight in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas in what officials call as a “human trafficking crime.”
So serious is the case that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been called in to aid in the investigations.
Local officials said that 17 people in the truck were brought to area hospitals in serious conditions, while another 13 were transported with less severe injuries.
Many in the truck suffered from heat stroke and dehydration. People inside the truck were mostly adults in their 20s and 30s, with at least two young children.
The driver of the truck remains unidentified, but was arrested and could face federal and state charges.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said authorities were notified after midnight by a Walmart employee, who had been approached by someone in the truck requesting for water.
McManus categorically said: “We’re looking at a human trafficking crime here.”
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood said firefighters arrived on the scene at 12:26 a.m., and began pulling the people out of the truck, which had no working air conditioning. In a media interview, Hood also said all of the dead were adult males and that unfortunately, some may have suffered brain damage from the intense heat conditions inside the truck.
Officials are probing where the truck came from, and how long they could have been staying in the parking lot before the authorities were alerted. Surveillance video from the store, however, showed that several vehicles entered the parking lot and “picked up lots of folks that were in the trailer that survived the trip.”
Some of the people who had been in the truck chose to run into the woods. The area has since been searched and will resume another search operation later.
McManus described the incident as “horrific tragedy.” He said, however, that the discovery is not an “isolated incident”, and that such happens frequently, and fortunately for some, they managed to survive.”
This latest San Antonio Walmart incident is tragic as eight people died. There is also no word yet on their identities and nationalities.