An immigrant woman “left for dead” survived the brutal Texas winter storm for six days before fresh tire tracks led her to safety, authorities say.
The 43-year-old woman from Mexico was abandoned Feb. 13 by a smuggler in West Texas as the arctic blast swept over the state and much of the country, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
A concerned relative alerted Border Patrol agents in Van Horn of her plight, and they searched the area, authorities said. But she was nowhere to be found as temperatures dropped into the single digits and snow fell.
The woman later told agents she spent three days hidden among rocks during the snowstorm. When the snowfall ended, she found an abandoned shed and took cover there for three more days amid freezing temperatures.
After six days in the wilderness, the woman made a fortunate discovery: tracks on a dirt road that she followed until finding a rancher.
The rancher notified agents of the woman and they went to the ranch to provide medical aid. She was suffering from hypothermia and “severe” frostbite, authorities say.
The woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. After she was released, the woman was processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for adjudication.
“It’s unfortunate so many people place their lives in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers, which often results in a tragic situation like this,” Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean McGoffin said in a news release. “For smugglers, it’s a business and they will leave you behind if you cannot keep up with them.”