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  4. Woman dies after she is found unresponsive in desert near Santa Teresa, New Mexico

Woman dies after she is found unresponsive in desert near Santa Teresa, New Mexico

Release Date
Wed, 10/18/2023
El Paso Sector
For More Information
Landon Hutchens (202) 407-4241;

On August 20, 2023, at approximately 9:35 p.m., Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) agents working in the Santa Teresa Station area of responsibility observed three individuals getting into a sedan at Mile Marker 2 on Strauss Road in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. BORTAC agents and Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigative Division agents performed a vehicle stop on the sedan at the intersection of Executive Center Boulevard and Interstate Highway 10, in El Paso, Texas at approximately 9:50 p.m. 
While conducting field interviews at approximately 11:11 p.m., BORTAC agents were advised by one of the undocumented migrants that an adult female that had been traveling with their group was left behind in the desert when she could not keep up with the group. BORTAC agents immediately advised U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector Communications of the missing female, via service radio.  
Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue (BORSTAR) agents were notified and responded to the missing female’s last known area at approximately midnight on August 21, 49 minutes after BORTAC was told that an adult female was left behind in the desert, to conduct a search. BORSTAR agents located an unresponsive adult female, at approximately 12:08 a.m. and immediately requested emergency medical services. The female was later identified as a citizen of Guatemala. The responding Border Patrol agent EMT found the woman unconscious, unresponsive, and with her airway obstructed by vomit. The agent EMT immediately placed her in a recovery position to clear her airway. The woman had a rapid pulse, irregular breathing, and appeared to be in shock.  
At approximately 12:20 a.m., BORSTAR agents placed the woman on a stretcher, placed cold packs under her armpits and groin area, and transported her on a Customs and Border Protection all-terrain vehicle to an area accessible by the responding ambulance service. BORSTAR agents arrived at mile marker 2.5 on Strauss Road at approximately 12:39 a.m. where American Medical Response EMS was waiting to receive the woman. EMS then took over primary medical care of the woman and transported her to The Hospitals of Providence Transmountain Campus, El Paso, Texas, at approximately 12:35 a.m.  
The ambulance arrived at the hospital’s emergency room at approximately 12:57 a.m., and the woman was reportedly unresponsive and severely dehydrated with low-blood pressure and low oxygen levels. She was intubated and placed on a ventilator while in the emergency room before being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.  
Agents established hospital watch on the woman at approximately 12:30 a.m. on August 22. The woman succumbed to her medical condition and was declared deceased by hospital personnel at approximately 10:09 a.m.  
Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility was advised by the El Paso County Office of the Medical Examiner and Forensic Laboratory on August 24 that they would conduct an external autopsy and furnish the results when available.  
This incident is under review by CBP’s OPR. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General was also notified. 

Last Modified: Jan 04, 2024