Desert Crosses Memorialize Deceased Border Crossers, Work As GPS To Aid In Rescues

August 27, 2013

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says it has erected its first cross marking the death of an illegal border crosser, since announcing an effort to put the GPS markers along I-8 just over a week ago. Deputy Joaquin Enriquez says it marks the fifth death in the past two weeks.

“The desert is brutal,” Enriquez said. “It’s very hot. You know, the elements, they can be very deceiving. We understand people want to come into Arizona, but the message is: don’t cross the desert.”

Enriquez says he hopes the crosses will memorialize the dead but also protect the living by serving as GPS markers that will aid in rescues. He says in the past two weeks, the sheriff's office has responded to 30 distress calls in that area and predicts more will be coming in the weeks ahead. 

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