TEXAS — Police believe human trafficking is the reason why they found 38 people Sunday morning inside an 18-wheeler parked outside of a San Antonio Walmart. Eight of the 38 people were dead.
Authorities said that of the 38, 20 people were taken to area hospitals in critical condition, and another eight had “less critical” injuries. Two of the people inside the truck were said to be young children .
Calling it “a horrific tragedy,” Police Chief William McManus stated, “We’re looking at a human trafficking crime here this evening.”
The people inside the truck were overcome with heatstroke.
The truck did not have a working air conditioning system, and according to the National Weather Service the temperature in San Antonio hit 101 degrees just before 5 p.m. on Saturday, and didn’t dip below 90 degrees until after 10 p.m.
A Walmart employee called police after being approached by someone who had been inside the truck. The person was asking for a drink of water.
“Late last night we got a call from a Walmart employee about a tractor-trailer that was parked in the lot here,” McManus said, noting that the store’s surveillance video showed “a number of vehicles” stopping to pick up some of the survivors prior to police being called.
Some of the people, who are all believed to be illegal aliens, fled into the woods where police plan to conduct another search Sunday. It’s still not known where the truck came from.
The driver of the vehicle, who was not identified, has been taken into custody, according to a report from Fox 29. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has launched an investigation into the matter. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel also plan to investigate the matter after the survivors have been treated.
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