At Least 9 People Dead, Dozens More Found in Serious or Critical Condition Inside Tractor-Trailer in San Antonio

San Antonio police officers are seen in a parking lot where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer that contained at least 30 others outside a Walmart store.
Eric Gay/AP

At least nine people have died after being crammed into the back of a tractor-trailer and traveling under scorching conditions, officials say, in an update on a case of apparent human trafficking.

A 60-year-old Florida man is in federal custody in connection to the case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The office says James Mathew Bradley, Jr., of Clearwater, Fla., will likely appear in San Antonio’s federal court on criminal charges Monday.

Early Sunday, San Antonio police said they had recovered eight bodies and 20 people in “extremely critical condition or very serious condition.” In an update Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that another death had occurred. All of those who died are adult males, the agency says.

The truck was parked in a Walmart parking lot. A total of 39 people were found inside, including at least two 15-year-old children. Officials had initially said 38 people were involved.

The Department of Homeland Security is currently leading the investigation.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said a Walmart employee called the police after a person who was in the truck was able to get out and approached the employee for water.

Twenty people in critical or very serious condition were transported to area hospitals, Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters. Another eight people in a less severe condition were taken to another hospital, he said. He said there was no air conditioning in the trailer, leaving people “very hot to the touch.” They had no water and many were suffering from dehydration and heat stroke.

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SOURCE: NPR, James Doubek and Bill Chappell