The body of a 7-year-old girl believed to be from India was found Wednesday morning by Border Patrol agents near the Arizona-Mexico border.
Agents encountered two women from India who said they had entered the United States and become separated from a woman and two children hours earlier, according to a news release from the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector. The agents encountered the women west of Lukeville, a border town about 150 miles southwest of Tucson.
Agents took the two women into custody and searched remote terrain north of the border. They found the girl’s body within hours about one mile north of the border. The high temperature Wednesday was 108 degrees, according to the news release.
The body was recovered by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Aircraft from the National Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection helped Border Patrol agents expand the search on the ground along with personnel with the Bureau of Land Management.
Late Wednesday night, agents found footprints indicating the remaining members of the group crossed back into Mexico, according to the news release.
U.S. and Mexican authorities continue to search the area for anyone involved in the crossing.
A highway in Mexico runs parallel to the border in the area where the girl’s body was found about 17 miles west of Lukeville.
Smugglers reportedly ordered the group to cross the border in the area, which is “dangerous and austere,” according to the news release.
“Our sympathies are with this little girl and her family,” said Tucson Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal. “This is a senseless death driven by cartels who are profiting from putting lives at risk.”
The U.S. Border Patrol encourages those in distress to dial 911 or activate a rescue beacon. People can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling 1-877-872-7435 toll free.