Mourners gather at the memorial for 53 who died in the Texas truck tragedy

Heartbroken mourners gathered at a makeshift memorial made of candles and colorful crosses to remember the 53 people who died in the deadliest migrant smuggling incident in US history, dramatic photos show.

Friends and relatives of the migrants, who were found dead in a remote part of San Antonio on Monday, placed numerous crosses – depicting the national colors of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – near the scene of the tragedy late Thursday.

Dozens of candles, flags, pictures of saints and countless water bottles were also placed at the memorial after the migrants – including some trying to escape poverty in their home country – were found dead in the back of a muggy, abandoned semi-trailer truck.

A woman knelt in prayer while others stood near the large monument, including a group of children and another couple, photos show.

Mourners place water bottles and candles at a makeshift memorial for the 53 migrants found dead on Monday.
Getty Images

The shrine grew Thursday when San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller held a memorial service at San Fernando Cathedral, during which church bells rang 53 times for the 40 male and 13 female victims, KENS reported.

“We pray for new ways of relating to one another – with respect for the human person,” García-Siller told the broadcaster before the service. “To do this, we are including our leaders of our state and country to work for comprehensive immigration reform.”

A woman kneels in prayer to honor those found dead.
Getty Images

García-Siller said Monday’s tragedy proved there was no more time to waste.

“It’s urgent,” he said. “We pray, in God’s mercy, that something will happen.”

But the 53 deaths haven’t stopped immigrants from entering the US illegally – as photos showed of people crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico overnight.

The alleged driver of the truck, Homero Zamorano, 45, is a US citizen who was arrested in a nearby field. He appeared in court for the first time on Thursday and remains in custody pending a scheduled hearing next week.

Authorities said Zamorano, who faces the death penalty if convicted, was “very high on meth” when he was arrested.

His alleged accomplice, Christian Martinez, 28, was arrested Tuesday on conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death, which also carries the possibility of the death penalty.

The trailer was carrying 64 migrants at the time, 48 of whom were dead when authorities arrived at the scene, according to a criminal complaint released on Thursday. Mourners gather at the memorial for 53 who died in the Texas truck tragedy


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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