Tales from a Border Patrol agent: On seeing my first body
IN THE SECOND week of August, 2010, I saw my first dead body in the desert. For nearly two years I’d carried a small tin of Vick’s VapoRub with me everywhere I went. I had always heard the other agents talk about the smell. That’s the worst part, they’d say, and it would stay in your nose for days. That’s what the Vick’s was for, for rubbing under your nostrils if you had to come up on a dead body. But this body was fresh, only about two hours old, and it hadn’t started to smell yet.
When I arrived at the body it was evening, around 1830 hours, and BPA Daniel Vince had already been on scene for 30 minutes. The body was located about 100 yards south of Federal Route 23, a few miles west of the small village of Ventana, approximately 50 miles north of the International Boundary on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation of southwestern Arizona. Vince told me that he had been flagged down by the dead man’s 16-year-old nephew and the boy’s 19-year-old friend as he drove down the road.