The dead bodies of illegal immigrants are turning up in south Texas as Central Americans pour across the U.S.-Mexico border, and a veterinarian who ranches cattle 70 miles from ground zero has the photos to prove it.
Dr. Mike ‘Doc’ Vickers of Brooks County, Texas showed some of the grisly images to MailOnline, all of them far too grotesque to publish unedited.
One picture shows a corpse propped up against a tree near his ranch in Brooks County, his eyes missing and dried blood cascading down his shirtless body.
‘This guy, obviously, had to lay down up against that tree, and that’s where he died,’ Vickers says in interview footage provided exclusively to MailOnline by documentary filmmaker Chris Burgard.
Falcons native to the Rio Grande river valley ‘plucked his eyes out before he was dead,’ the animal doctor concludes. ‘He bled out through his eyes, which tells me that he was probably in a coma but they were eatin’ on him before his heart stopped beating.’
Burgard is working on a sequel to his 2007 documentary, ‘Border,’ which made a splash on the film-festival circuit years before illegal immigration swelled to what President Barack Obama now concedes is a ‘humanitarian crisis.’
When he filmed ‘Border’ in 2005, he said, ‘we had to go out and find illegal traffic.’
‘This time it found us.’
He screened his film on Capitol Hill back then, telling members of Congress that children were becoming pawns in Mexican drug cartels’ smuggling operations into the U.S. homeland.
‘I am not surprised to find immigrants dying 70 miles north of the border,’ Burgard told MailOnline, but ‘I am surprised that nine years later it is still a secret to most of the American people.’
‘The Federal Government has long known about this,’ he said, ticking off Texas and Arizona counties where human remains are continually turning up.
‘Local officials who deal with collecting the bodies are so overwhelmed financially that the cost of coroner inquests on each case is dramatically affecting their budgets.’
Vickers, 64, told MailOnline on Wednesday that since 2012 his organization, the Texas Border Volunteers, has counted 259 dead bodies in his native Brooks County alone, including those of children.
‘And we’re probably only finding 20 per cent of them. A lot of people die out here.’
‘We find a hell of a lot of women,’ he said. ‘Three of the last ones who have died on my ranch have been women. We found a dead 12-year-old boy on my neighbor’s property.’
Some have the good fortune to find Vickers and his crew.
‘We’ve rescued some small children, quite a few,’ Vickers recalled. ‘One boy, 11 years old, was left behind 8 or 9 miles off the highway. He had no idea where he was.’ The border volunteers gave him water and arranged for U.S. Border Patrol agents to pick him up.
‘I’ve seen families out in my front yard under a tree,’ he said, ‘with little bitty toddlers with them.’
The group of about 300 amateur patrolmen go out in teams of up to 40 armed men at a time for 4- to 5-day patrols, reporting to Border Patrol agents and Texas Rangers on where the immigrant traffic is heaviest.
In nine years of scouring south Texas, no shots have been fired.
The closest U.S. Border Patrol station, at Falfurrias, Texas, is about 4-1/2 miles from Vickers’ 1,000-acre ranch.
An official in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency confirmed that in the month of June more than 4,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended at or near that checkpoint.
About 82 per cent of them were so-called ‘OTM’ border crossers – ‘Other Than Mexican.’
More than 400 were children.
The federal government doesn’t keep statistics on how many dead immigrants’ bodies are recovered, the DHS official told MailOnline.