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Arpaio: Border crossers are embarking on death march

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The crosses were made by Arpaio's Tent City inmates. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) The crosses were made by Arpaio's Tent City inmates. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
At least 14 desert crossers have died since June in and around Gila Bend. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) At least 14 desert crossers have died since June in and around Gila Bend. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Alarmed by the rising number of bodies found in the desert, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says his office will place crosses where victims are found, as a deterrent to desert crossers.

The sheriff's Tent City Jail inmates recently constructed the wooden crosses, which will aid those in danger and who call 911 for help. The crosses will be numbered and will be GPS sensitive.

Sheriff's deputies have investigated 14 deaths since June in and around Gila Bend.

"Desert crossers are dying in unknown numbers due to the desert's brutal conditions and excessively high temperatures," said Arpaio.

More than 30 people have been rescued from the same area this summer, Arpaio noted.

In the past four days, sheriff's deputies found another four bodies in the desert near Gila Bend. Two were discovered on Saturday and two on Tuesday.

Arpaio said two men were rescued from the desert this week. Both of them were suffering from heat-related illnesses, which required medical attention.

"I have directed my staff to track the time and resources spent on these mercy missions," Arpaio said. "The federal government's failure to secure the border should be a charge paid for by that government, not laid at the feet of Maricopa County taxpayers."

"If the Federal Government, for whatever reason, cannot secure our borders, it should be their responsibility, and not Arizona taxpayers, to pay for these rescues," Arpaio said.

Deputies said they also found remains of a human skull, linked to a body found in the desert last summer.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Arpaio: Border crossers are embarking on death marchMore>>

  • UPDATE

    MCSO: 4 bodies found in desert near Gila Bend

    MCSO: 4 bodies found in desert near Gila Bend

    Thursday, August 15 2013 4:37 PM EDT2013-08-15 20:37:51 GMT
    (Source: CBS 5 News)(Source: CBS 5 News)
    The bodies of at least four suspected undocumented immigrants were found in the desert near Gila Bend on Thursday morning. Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents were at the scene to recover the bodiesMore >>
    Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents were at the scene to recover the bodies near mile post 133 just off Interstate 8.More >>
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