A 3-year-old boy was all by himself in the middle of a cornfield on the Texas border when Border Patrol agents found him Tuesday, US Customs and Border Protection officials said.
The boy was crying, and had his name and phone numbers written on his shoes. The agency tweeted out an image indicating they were still trying to reach the child's family.
"We believe the boy was with a larger group that ran when they encountered agents," the tweet says.
Irma Chapa, communications director for the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector, said agents responded Tuesday morning to a group of migrants who had crossed the Rio Grande. The group scattered and fled back to the river, Chapa said. As agents were searching for them, they heard a child crying in a nearby field.
"Agents searched and located a sobbing toddler abandoned in the middle of the field," Chapa said. "The child appeared to be healthy and unharmed."
He was transported to the Border Patrol Station and law enforcement agencies are assisting in locating the boy's family, Chapa said.
It's not the first time this has happened in South Texas, and "unfortunately it won't be the last," the sector's chief, Rodolfo Karisch said.
"This incident highlights the dangers faced by migrants at the hands of smugglers," Karisch said. "Children, in particular, are extremely vulnerable, not only to exploitation but also to the elements of the environment."