Immigrant halts trek to save boy in desert |

Immigrant halts trek to save boy in desert

Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX (AP) ” An illegal immigrant who rescued a 9-year-old boy from the southern Arizona desert said Wednesday he was thinking of his own four children when he halted his two-day walk from Mexico to help the boy.

Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes told The Associated Press that he never could have left the boy to continue his journey, even though he was just eight hours from reaching Tucson.

“I am a father of four children. For that, I stayed,” Cordova said in Spanish from his home in Magdalena de Kino in the Mexican state of Sonora. “I never could have left him. Never.”

If he had left, authorities say it could have meant death for the boy, 9-year-old Christopher Buztheitner, who had an injured leg, was dressed in shorts despite the desert cold and had just lost his mother in a car crash.

Christopher and his mother, 45-year-old Dawn Alice Tomko, had been in the area camping, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said.

He said Tomko was driving on a U.S. Forest Service road in a remote area just north of the Mexican border when she lost control of her van on a curve on Thanksgiving Day. The van vaulted off a cliff into a canyon and landed 300 feet from the road.

Cordova, a 26-year-old bricklayer who was hoping to find work in Arizona, said he was two days into his walk when he spotted Christopher, who had a dog with him and held a side mirror from the van. One of his legs also was scratched up and discolored.

The two could not communicate because Christopher only speaks English and Cordova only speaks Spanish. But Cordova said the boy took him to the canyon’s edge and showed him the accident.

The two would spend the next 14 hours together before a group of hunters found them and called for help. U.S. Border Patrol agents took Cordova into custody, and Christopher was flown to a hospital in Tucson.

Christopher was reunited with family over the weekend and Cordova was taken back to Mexico.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User