Haunting portrait of desperation shakes the world–image of lifeless dad and baby released


The deaths of a father and his infant daughter whose bodies were pictured face down in a river after they tried to get to the US have sparked outrage.

:: Warning distressing images below

The tragedy comes amid a recent spate of other deaths on the US-Mexico border, which highlight the dangers facing Central American migrants along the route.

Harrowing photographs of El Salvador migrant Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria show the little girl holding onto her father as their bodies lie side-by-side in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande on the Mexican side.

The man’s black shirt is up around to his chest with the child tucked inside.

Valeria’s arm is draped around his neck and it appears she clung close to him in the final minutes of their lives.

Their bodies were found on Monday morning near Matamoros, Mexico, across the water from Brownsville, Texas.

The location was several hundred metres from where they had tried to cross the day before and just a half a mile from an international bridge.

According to Mexican paper Le Duc, Mr Ramirez had swum the river with his daughter and then left her on the US side to go back for his wife Tania Vanessa Avalos.

However Valeria panicked and tried to reach her father. But sadly both were swept away by the current.

A frustrated Mr Ramirez had reportedly decided to swim with his daughter because the family was unable to present themselves to US authorities and request asylum.

Mr Ramirez’s mother Rosa holds her granddaughter’s favourite doll and stuffed animal Source:SkyNews

Back in El Salvador Mr Ramirez’s mother Rosa, holding her granddaughter’s favourite doll and stuffed animal, said the last message she had received from her son was on Saturday.

“He said ‘mama, I love you’. He said ‘take care of yourselves because we are fine here.’ When I read that message, I don’t know, it made me want to cry because I saw it as a sort of goodbye.”

She has spoken with her daughter-in-law since the tragedy.

Rosa Ramirez said: “When the girl jumped in is when he tried to reach her, but when he tried to grab the girl, he went in further … and he couldn’t get out.

“He put her in his shirt, and I imagine he told himself, ‘I’ve come this far’ and decided to go with her.”

Ms Ramirez said her son and his family left El Salvador on 3 April and spent about two months at a shelter in Tapachula, near Mexico’s border with Guatemala.

“I begged them not to go, but he wanted to scrape together money to build a home,” she said. “They hoped to be there a few years and save up for the house.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said of the latest deaths: “Very regrettable that this would happen.

“We have always denounced that, as there is more rejection in the United States, there are people who lose their lives in the desert or crossing” the river.

Mr Ramirez’s father, Jose Martinez Carcamos, pictured in tears after the tragedy
Source:SkyNews

US Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, from the border city of El Paso in Texas, tweeted: “Trump is responsible for these deaths.”

Foreign policy analyst Rula Jebreal, who is a visiting professor at Miami University, tweeted: “Picture of a dad and his baby drowned in Rio Grande, her arm draped around his neck… it highlights migrants’ travesty.

“As Trump brutalises and tortures kids for political gain…Republicans’ remaining collective morality dies.”


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