A Brazilian nurse has died of thirst in the US wilderness after illegally crossing from Mexico to start a new life with her brother in Pittsburgh.
Lenilda Oliveira dos Santos, 49, was travelling with three other people and a guide known as a ‘coyote’.
She set off from the municipality of Vale do Paraiso in the Brazilian state of Rondonia where she lived to Mexico, eventually crossing the Mexican border into the US state of New Mexico where she had hoped to make it to the city of Delming.
From Delming, it is believed the Brazilian nurse planned to take a bus to Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, where her brother lives.
However, she was found dead, apparently while crawling to find shade, in the wilderness south of Delming after becoming tired and being abandoned by the rest of the group.
Lenilda sent audio messages to her family during the trek, showing her slowly becoming more tired and in need of water.
In her final audio message to her brother on 7th September, one day after being abandoned by her travelling companions, she is quoted as saying: “I slept here, I couldn’t stand it. I am alone, but they are coming to pick me up, you can be assured.”
In other messages to apparently reassure her loved ones, the nurse said: “I’m already arriving here. A little way to go.”
Another message suggested Lenilda was beginning to lose confidence that the group would come back for her: “I waited until 11am but no one came back. I took it on the chin and left the area.”
She added: “I am lost. Tell them to bring me water because I can’t stand the thirst.”
The 49-year-old woman’s body was found at the end of a trail marked in the desert sand by the police.
She reportedly died while crawling towards a rock, perhaps to seek shade from the hot sun.
It is believed she died of thirst and hunger.
Her 46-year-old brother Moizaniel Pereira de Oliveira said: “Her body was found near a rock, she died crawling. There was a trail behind her. She was probably looking for a place to stop and seek shade.
“She tried to get into the US illegally a while ago and was imprisoned in Arizona for about three months before being deported.
“She stayed in Brazil for about a month before coming back here. I always told her not to come like this, not to take chances. To wait for the consulate to open and get a visa. But when I found out, she was already in Mexico waiting to cross the border.”