Gilberto Ramos, the Guatemalan boy found dead after crossing into the U.S., wanted to leave the chilly mountain village of San Jose Las Flores for the U.S. to earn money to treat his mother's epilepsy, said his mother Cipriana Juarez Diaz, who spoke from her home to the Associated Press.
Gilberto was found still wearing the rosary his mother gave him for safe passage after she had begged him not to go. "The better treatment would have been if he stayed," she said. Gilberto, who was originally identified as an 11 year old, was 15, according to the family. A smuggler known as a coyote had assured them he would be safe, said his mother. The trip cost $5,400, and the family had borrowed $2,600 of that, paying $2,000 the first week of the journey and another $600 the week before he died. They still owe the debt. The family had no pictures left of Gilberto, since they had to send them to the U.S. to identify the body. "He was a good son," Juarez said. "May God give me the strength to endure."