Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s officers placing crosses to warn desert crossers

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MCSO: 15th body since June found in AZ desert

Phoenix (KPHO) — Another body of an apparent border crosser was found in the desert Sunday off Interstate 8 in Gila Bend, Maricopa County sheriff’s detectives said.

Alarmed by the rising number of bodies found in the desert, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says his office will place crosses where victims are found, as a deterrent to desert crossers.

The sheriff’s Tent City Jail inmates recently constructed the wooden crosses, which will aid those in danger and who call 911 for help. The crosses will be numbered and will be GPS sensitive.

The location is less than one mile away from where other bodies were found last week.

Sheriff’s detectives said the victim was not carrying any identification and died from “the harsh desert elements.”

MCSO has investigated five deaths in the past 10 days, making it a total of 15 body discoveries since June in an area known for human trafficking.

Sheriff’s deputies have been involved in more than 30 rescues in the same area this summer.

On Aug. 15, Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a news briefing where he displayed 45 crosses in the desert to send a message urging people not to attempt a desert crossing.

“Cross No. 1 will be placed in the desert today as a reminder not to cross the desert,” said Arpaio.

Arpaio said his deputies plan to place crosses made by Tent City Jail inmates in the areas where bodies are found.

All the crosses placed will be numbered and have GPS coordinates linked to those numbers which will assist sheriff’s deputies in locating future border crossers who call 911 for help.

By Phil Benson