EL PASO — Donated coffins were readied Sunday to carry the bodies of 18 illegal aliens back to the Mexican communities they had left before suffocating in an airtight boxcar inching across the Texas desert.
The Mexican government is arranging and paying for the return of the bodies because their families cannot afford it, said Beatriz Lopez, a spokeswoman for the Mexican Consulate. A funeral home in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez donated the coffins.
Fifteen bodies had been positively identified by Sunday morning, Lopez said. Officials said the bodies probably will be returned early this week.
The 18 men, who were locked in the foam-insulated, airtight boxcar at an El Paso freight yard last week, died during a long and desperate night fighting for oxygen in the 130-degree heat. One man, 21-year-old Miguel Tostado Rodriguez, was still alive when the boxcar was opened Thursday.