TUCSON, Ariz. (FOX 5 NY) - A 7-year-old girl who was part of a group of people from India whom human smugglers ordered to illegally cross the border into the United States died in the Arizona desert earlier this week, according to federal authorities.
Agents from the Tucson Sector Border Patrol came across two women from India saying that they'd been separated from another woman and two children a few hours earlier after the smugglers dropped them off on the Mexico side and told them to cross in a remote and very dangerous area.
The Border Patrol then launched a search by land and air for the woman and children and found the girl's body a few hours later.
"Our sympathies are with this little girl and her family," Tucson Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal said in a statement. "This is a senseless death driven by cartels who are profiting from putting lives at risk."
Aircraft from the National Guard and Customs and Border Protection searched from the sky while Border Patrol agents and Bureau of Land Management personnel combed the area on the ground.
Late Wednesday night, agents found footprints that indicated that the missing pair had crossed back into Mexico. U.S. and Mexican authorities continued to look but didn't find them.
Then late Thursday night, the missing woman and her 8-year-old daughter crossed back into the United States and surrendered to federal agents, who brought them to a hospital for treatment for dehydration.
The area where the girl's body was found is remote, "rugged desert wilderness with few backcountry roads and little to no resources," Customs and Border Protection said.
That day, the temperature hit 108 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
This story was produced from New York City