Special needs teen found in Weslaco identified
Fri, 02 Dec 2011 00:45:19 GMT —
Authorities are investigating how a special needs teen with family in Tennessee ended up alone in the Rio Grande Valley.
Weslaco police are taking care of 16-year-old Darwin Castellon.
Border Patrol agents found the hearing and speech-impaired teen with special needs near the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge on Wednesday.
The agents took him to the Border Patrol station in Weslaco but they dropped him off at a bus station when the discovered he was not in their system.
Concerned citizens called Weslaco police a few hours later.
Weslaco police put out an alert, which ran on VALLEYCENTRAL.COM and other media outlets.
Action 4 News was at the Weslaco Police Department when Darwin TMs sister, who he calls Mita called to speak with investigators.
She told investigators that she lives in Memphis and sent them a picture of herself to show Darwin.
Once police showed the non-verbal teen the picture, he said very quietly, "Mita."
Weslaco Police *** said detectives are still investigating how the teen ended up in the Valley.
"The next step now is just waiting and for further verification and to see what arrangements can be made with possibly a state agency to get him shelter pending the arrival of family members so that he can be released to their custody and we can get him back home,
Action 4 News contacted Border Patrol officials and asked why the agents dropped off this special needs teen at a bus stop instead of trying to find his origins or contacting police.
They released the following statement:
"U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector encountered this individual near the Rio Grande and developed reasonable suspicion that he may be in the country without documentation. The subject was taken to the Weslaco Border Patrol Station for further investigation. Agents were unable to identify him or determine his citizenship, and had no legal basis to detain this individual any further. Agents made contact with multiple local law enforcement agencies that declined to take custody of the individual. Due to the fact that we do not have adequate facilities or authority to house him, he was transported to a public area and released."