About 40 people gather for mass to remember 19 killed May 14, 2003
19th anniversary of deadliest human smuggling case in U.S. history
VICTORIA, Texas – Nineteen years ago at Fleming Prairie Rd. near U.S. 77, 19 undocumented immigrants died inside the back of a hot packed tractor-trailer. A teen and a 5-year-old boy were among the dead. They were locked inside as the temperature in the tractor-trailer reached 173 degrees. A total of 70 people were inside the truck.
Names of the 19 people killed on May 14 2003
Father Flores of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church led the mass. A member of the Mexican consulate was at the mass and reminded the crowd to reach out to the offices for any assistance. Several people shared their thoughts after the service ended. The mother of the teen who died was in attendance and now lives in Houston.
Memorial sign to honor 19 people killed is now missing
A more permanent memorial sign installed years ago was taken at some point and remains missing. Only man-made memorial items remain at the site, including water, crosses, flowers and photos. Organizers have asked a landowner near the site for a small area to build a lasting monument. About 40 people gathered Saturday at noon many had to stand in the middle of the roadway to listen and watch the mass.
Tomas Angel Mejia attended the mass and said he is reminded of his own family who made it to America for a better life.
Tomas Angel Mejia with rosary in hand and an umbrella to beat the heat
The man accused in this crime is serving a 34 year federal prison sentence.
You can report issues of human smuggling at 866-DHS-2ICE. The anonymous ICE tip line is 866-347-2423. Or go to ice.gov.
Read more articles on this story here.
Names of the 19 killed on May 14, 2003
Marco Antonio Villasenor
Jose Antonio Villasenor
Edgar Gabriel Hernandez
Juan Carlos Castillo
Juan Jose Morales
Jose Felicito Figueroa
Jose Mauricio Torres
Augusto Stanley Vargas
Jose Luis Ramirez
COPYRIGHT 2022 BY CROSSROADS TODAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.