It has been eight days since 20-year-old Everilda Chilel Lopez of Guatemala was abandoned, too weak and injured to continue walking through the vast, desolate ranchlands of Brooks County.
Her smuggler told family members it was cold and raining that night, so the group left her covered in black trash bags near a dried up lake about two hours south of the county airport. The group had been walking for four days through the thick brush, trying to circumvent the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Falfurrias.
Between January 2014 and December 2015, there were 96 Guatemalan natives reported missing in the Rio Grande Valley that were never heard from again, according to Guatemalan consulate statistics.
Authorities searching for Everilda have also been looking for a second woman who was left behind and the body of a man who a witness said was stomped to death by the same smuggler.
The last time Marta Lopez spoke to her younger sister was the Sunday after Christmas. Everilda had just crossed the Rio Grande and was being housed near McAllen along with a small group of illegal crossers, Marta said.
“The last thing she said to me was, ‘If it’s God’s will, I will be there with you soon to celebrate the New Year,’” Marta recalled Friday.
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