SULLIVAN CITY, TX -- The summer heat has claimed yet another victim along the Texas-Mexico border.
Police body cam video obtained by the KENS 5 Border Team shows a son’s desperate call for help and an officer doing all he can to save a life.
The constant, non-forgiving, and always threatening Texas summer sun is an unrelenting enemy of those who dare to stand before it.
Sullivan City Officer Ricardo Rosas knows all too well what the blistering heat can do to a person.
Rosas’s body camera recorded the moment he found two undocumented Mexican immigrants, a father and son, stranded and dehydrated in the middle of ranchland about two miles north of the border.
It was the second time in a week Rosas and his fellow officers had responded to a call of people in such distress.
“This pretty much turned into a search and rescue situation,” Officer Rosas said.
Just walking 15 minutes among the arid terrain in 100-degree weather begins to take a toll. Santos and his 20-year-old son Efrain spent two days under these conditions with little to no food and water.
After a while, things begin to look the same when you don’t know where you are. Luckily for both Rosas and the immigrants, a Border Patrol surveillance blimp floating in the sky served as the only reference point for agents to find them.
“Just shortly after that, they were able to locate my exact location,” Officer Rosas recalled.
Worried that a medic wouldn’t get to Santos in time, Rosas and Efrain lifted him up and tried carrying him towards the direction of the agents. Santos is clearly seen suffering from a heat stroke in the video. But after all the efforts to save him, Santos doesn’t pull through and dies after being airlifted by a helicopter.
“Smugglers, it’s their business, so they don’t really care about leaving someone else behind,” Officer Rosas noted.
At least 20 immigrants have been rescued in 9-1-1 distress calls this week alone by Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley sector. Rosas tries not to dwell on the what-ifs.
“I tried my best, you know? This is what I chose to do,” he said. “So, it’s my main concern, saving someone’s life.”