Only a week after the heartbreaking and tragic image of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his two-year-old daughter Valeria drowned in the Rio Grande began circulating online, another two-year-old girl has been swept away in the dangerous waters.
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) said, in a statement released on Tuesday that, on July 1, agents detained a woman from Haiti who told authorities she lost her daughter while crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico. The woman said her daughter is age 2 and a Brazil national.
— CBP South Texas (@CBPSouthTexas) July 2, 2019
Border Patrol agents have been scouring the river since Monday evening in search of the girl, with the help of a remotely operated underwater vehicle, a dive team, and Mexican authorities, according to NBC News.
“Any time a child is lost it is a tragic event,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz told NBC News.
The image of Ramírez and his young daughter has sparked national outrage and heightened attention on the truly dangerous trip that people are desperate enough to make from Central America to the U.S.
Ramírez, Valeria and the girl’s mother left for the U.S. in search of a better life for their daughter after struggling financially in El Salvador. The girl’s mother also almost drowned but a friend was able to rescue her.
The young family had grown desperate to cross the border after waiting two months in Mexico, unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities to request asylum, according to a report by Julia Le Duc, who photographed the death of the father and daughter for a Mexican newspaper, La Jornada.
U.S. authorities recorded 283 migrant deaths last year, although that number is likely lower than the actual amount.