HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Federal authorities say a tenth person has died after being found in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio.
Prosecutors said in a statement on Monday that the person died at a hospital. Nearly 20 others were hospitalized in dire condition after they were found in the truck outside a Walmart early on Sunday.
San Antonio police and fire crews found 39 people inside of the hot tractor-trailer and someone in the truck was able to get out and ask for water.
"We got a call from a Walmart employee to conduct a welfare check at a tractor-trailer that was on the lot here," says police chief William McManus. "He was approached by someone in the truck who was asking for water."
When authorities searched the truck, they found eight bodies and dozens of other people. Many of them had to be transported to 7 area hospitals and are in critical condition. Two more people have since died at hospitals, increasing the total deaths to ten.
"Our paramedics found that each one of them had heart rates over about 130 beats per minute, which, again they were very hot to the touch so these people were in their trailer without any type of water.", says fire chief Charles Hood.
Dr. Bob Sanborn, president and chief executive officer of Children At Risk, says smuggling cases are becoming more and more common.
Just recently in Houston, 12 people were found inside a rental truck in a parking lot on Harwin Drive near Fondren Road. Three people were arrested and charged in the human smuggling case.
"We see this all the time and it's unfortunate and it's no less horrible than the day before," says Sanborn.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say that in 2016, they conducted more than 2,100 human smuggling investigations, which resulted in more than 1,500 criminal convictions.
"When you're escaping countries like Honduras and Guatemala, San Salvador, the levels of violence are horrendous so people are really doing whatever it takes to have a different life," says Dr. Sanborn.
James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Florida is being held in federal custody in connection with the incident.
ICE officials say if you see something, say something. Contact the ICE hotline by phone at 866-347-2423.