Vista Father of Five Dies in Arizona Desert After Being Deported
Read the whole story here. You can also see more photos, and find the account number at the bottom where you can donate to help the family get the body turned over to them for burial.
A Vista man died along the U.S. border with Mexico last month trying to return to his family after being deported.
The body of Alfonso Martinez Sanchez, 39, was found on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, his family and authorities said. The reservation stretches along the Arizona border and is a frequent route for thousands of migrants attempting to cross the border illegally. It is an unforgiving environment, part of the Sonoran desert, where temperatures can often soar to more than 100 degrees.
Martinez was trying to return to his wife and five U.S.-born children, ages 5 to 18, said Juana Garcia Martinez, his wife. Martinez was the main bread winner and now the family is struggling to make ends meet, she said.
“He knew that we needed him,” Garcia said. “He wanted to be here.”
Vista sheriff’s Lt. John Maryon said an officer encountered Martinez at the Holiday Liquor Market in Vista on March 1. The lieutenant said the deputy went to the store to deliver a letter regarding new synthetic drug regulations.
Martinez signed for the letter as an employee of the store, the lieutenant said, and the deputy asked to see his ID. The deputy called Border Patrol when Martinez showed a matricula consular, a Mexican ID card, Maryon said.
According to the family, Martinez had gone to the store to buy milk. The store clerk, a friend of Martinez, asked whether Martinez could mind the store while he dealt with an emergency, Garcia said.
When the deputy arrived to deliver the letter, Martinez signed for it, Garcia said.
Martinez was turned over to the Border Patrol, taken to the agency’s station in San Clemente and was later deported to Tijuana. He tried several times to cross the border illegally back into the United States, but failed and was arrested.
Juana Garcia Martinez, center, with three of her five children, Carlos, 12, left; Katee, 5, center; and Victor, 14, sit in their Vista apartment after the husband and father of the family died in Arizona last month while trying to come back to his family after being deported. Photo: JAMIE SCOTT LYTLE | email@example.com
Hat tip: Erin Siegel.