Eight people were found dead in a truck in a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday, July 23, the San Antonio Police Department confirmed.
A ninth person died in the hospital later.
Police said 20 people were taken to hospital in an “extremely critical condition or very serious condition,” while eight others were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
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Fire chief Charles Hood said emergency crews were called to the scene around 12:30 a.m. (0530 GMT) and found a total of 38 people inside a hot semi-trailer. The trailer had no functioning air conditioning and there was no sign of water inside.
Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said there were four children between the ages of 10 and 17 among the 38 people found in the truck, adding that there may have been more than 100 people in total in the vehicle. One other person was found in nearby woods.
Temperatures in the city have reached highs of of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or more on several days over the past week.
San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus said in a press briefing that a Walmart employee called emergency services after being approached by someone from the truck asking for water.
“We’re looking at a human trafficking crime here this evening,” McManus said.
“The driver and whomever else we find that’s involved in this will be facing state and federal charges,” McManus said, adding that the driver was in custody.
The investigation has been turned over to ICE.
McManus said after they are treated, the people in the trailer would be reviewed by ICE agents to determine their immigration status.