SAN ANTONIO — New developments are shedding light on the discovery of dozens of bodies in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio on Monday.
The death toll has risen to 51.
Crosses are being hammered into the ground to memorialize the victims. They're being placed at the exact location the trailer was found along a desolate stretch of road in southwest San Antonio.
"It's hard knowing ... or really not knowing how much people suffered," San Antonio resident Angelita Olvera said.
Olvera and fellow resident Debra Ponce said it speaks to the dangers so many take to make it to America by any means necessary.
"We have to have a safe way for people to enter and to process people and tragedies like this might stop," Ponce said.
President Joe Biden called the incident "horrifying and heartbreaking." He blamed smugglers and human traffickers who have no regard for human life. He said they're only in it to make a profit.
The tragedy started unfolding when officials said a worker heard cries coming from the partially open trailer. One body was found and then the startling discovery inside was made.
Dispatch calls have been released from the discovery that gives insight into what first responders found when they initially got to the scene.
“No signs of water in the vehicle ... it was a refrigerated tractor-trailer but there was no visible working AC unit on that rig,” San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said.
In the middle of the Texas heat, it's hard to imagine what that could have felt like.
“You know when you get in your car and it’s hot? Can you imagine an 18-wheeler with no air conditioning? No vent, nothing whatsoever,” Olvera said.
Investigators are working to find out where the truck came from after a trucking company claims that the big rig's ID number was stolen.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government would also be investigating what he said were mostly Mexican casualties.
The Department of Homeland Security is in charge of the investigation in Texas and authorities said at least three people possibly tied to the incident have been taken into custody.