Arizona authorities released the autopsy for a Mexican wound found hanging upside on the border wall last month, showing she was choked to death by her climbing harness while attempting to illegally enter the US.
The Pima County Medical Examiner’s report, conducted for the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, said the woman, identified as 31-year-old Griselda Anais Verduzco Armenta, was found suspended from the border wall entrapped by a cord, tie-down straps and seat belt around her neck, chest and arms.
The report released this week said Verduzco Armenta had abrasions to the head, torso and extremities, along with contusions, a laceration on her lower right leg and a fractured vertebra, the Associated Press reported. The body also showed signs of attempts to revive her, according to the outlet.
The woman’s cousin told the Spanish-language news program Telemundo Noticias that Armenta, a mother of two daughters ages 1 and 9, was attempting to climb the wall near Douglas, Arizona, with the help of “coyotes,” a term used for those who smuggle immigrants across the border.
Armenta fell while wearing her harness, and the alleged smugglers “tried and tried” to get her down but eventually left her there “for their own safety.”
“They left her there hanging – she was still alive,” the woman’s cousin told the outlet.
The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said it was advised at 11 p.m. on April 11 about a deceased woman hanging on the border fence off of International Road and Kings Highway near Douglas.
It is believed the woman climbed on top of the wall and while attempting to maneuver down on the U.S. side via a harness similar to a rappelling, her foot and leg became entangled and she was trapped upside down for “a significant amount of time,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Mexican authorities had called U.S. Border Patrol to report the woman hanging on the wall.
She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The Mexican Consulate was notified of the incident and contact was made with Mexican authorities, who provided additional details to the sheriff’s office.
“These types of incidents are not political, they are humanitarian realities that someone has lost a loved one in a senseless tragedy,” Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said in an April 12 statement. “We have to do better in finding solutions to the challenges facing our border, and we have to do it for the right reasons. Regardless of opinions, it is the facts that should direct our progress, and we will keep working towards a shared goal of border safety and security.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.