Woman found dead hanging upside down on US-Mexico border fence

A Mexican woman has died attempting to cross into the US by climbing over the border fence in Arizona.

Griselda Verduzco Armenta, 32, fell from the top of the fence and became entangled in a climbing harness she was using to get across after having scaled the wall with a ladder.

She was reportedly left behind by people smugglers, known as “coyotes”, and asphyxiated while hanging upside down.

The incident happened near the town of Douglas, Arizona. Cochise County Sheriff’s Office released a statement after the discovery of Ms Verduzco’s body on 11 April.

“The woman reportedly climbed onto the top of the International Border wall and when attempting to manoeuvre down on the US side via a harness similar to rappelling, her foot/leg became entangled and she was trapped upside down for a significant amount of time,” the statement reads.

An attempt was made to resuscitate her, but she remained unresponsive.

“The 32-year-old woman was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The Mexican Consulate was notified of the incident and contact was made with Mexican authorities who provided additional details to the Sheriff’s Office.”

A relative of Ms Verduzco, who was originally from Ahome in Sinaloa, said that she had two daughters, one around a year old and the other aged nine.

The woman, identified by Telemundo as her cousin, said Ms Verduzco had tried to cross into the US previously, calling it her “obstinate dream”, adding that she wanted to provide a better future for her children.

The woman’s cousin said: “The coyotes tried and tried to get her down, but they couldn’t.”

She added: “And, well, they left her there for their own safety, also, I think, so that [border officials] wouldn’t arrest them. And they left her there hanging – she was still alive.”

It is unclear how the woman obtained the details of her cousin’s death. The family is working with the local Mexican consul, Ricardo Pineda Albarran, to have her body brought home.

Mr Pineda issued a statement condemning those who promise to transport people across the border in exchange for money.

“They fooled this woman and her group that it was safe,” he said. “Imagine how distraught this family is. We condemn this.”

Sheriff Mark Dannels said: “These types of incidents are not political, they are humanitarian realities that someone has lost a loved one in a senseless tragedy.”

He continued: “We have to do better in finding solutions to the challenges facing our border, and we have to do it for the right reasons. Regardless of opinions, it is the facts that should direct our progress and we will keep working towards a shared goal of border safety and security.”

Authorities have not confirmed if the border wall where Ms Verduzco died is one of the newer sections. Images released by the sheriff’s office show it is made up of steel beams in the style of the sections built during the Trump presidency.

The International Organization for Migration says that 650 people died last year trying to cross the border from Mexico to the US.

* story by the independent.co.uk