U.S. Border Patrol agents are searching for a 3-year-old boy who went missing after attempting to cross the Rio Grande River with his mother, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a Thursday statement.
On Tuesday, a dozen migrants who were trying to cross the river near a port of entry in Texas alerted border control officials that the toddler and his mother had broken off from the pack while attempting to navigate the river’s intense current.
With the assistance of CBP Air and Marine Operations aircraft, agents immediately began searching the area. On Wednesday morning, they discovered a female body matching the description of the boy’s mother. She was 28 and from Honduras.
“This is [a] heartbreaking tragedy that occurs too often,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz in a statement. “Border Patrol agents are using all available resources in the search for the missing boy.”
In June, the New York Times reported that Border Patrol agents had rescued at least 315 migrants from a 209-mile stretch of the Rio Grande since the start of fiscal year 2019. Agents rescued only 12 migrants along the stretch the year before, according to the Times.
The case of the missing toddler and his presumedly drowned mother evokes memories of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, who both died while attempting to cross the Rio Grande River. After their deaths, a photo of them lying face down on the riverbank with the girl’s head tucked into her dad’s shirt and her arm draped over his back went viral and sparked intense debate.