Mother fleeing domestic violence and trying to reunite with her children among 13 killed in Imperial County crash

California
Hugo Castro, an activist with the Coalition for Human Immigration Rights, places crosses at the crash scene.(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Hugo Castro, an activist with the Coalition for Human Immigration Rights, places crosses at the crash scene.(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

A few months ago, after her husband had left for work, Carolina Ramírez Pérez called her brother in California and told him she needed to escape her home with her children.

Pérez, an indigenous woman living in Mexico’s state of Oaxaca, could no longer put up with her husband, who had physically abused her for years and would not let her freely leave the house, receive visitors, or talk to her family, her brother said.

But the journey to find freedom would end with the 32-year-old mother’s death. On March 2, after breaching a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence, an SUV carrying Pérez and 24 others was struck by a big rig in Imperial County. Thirteen people — including Pérez — were killed.

She left behind children on both sides of the border. In the U.S., a 10-year-old boy, 5-year-old girl, and 2-year-old boy that she had sent across shortly before she made the attempt herself. In Mexico, a 14-year-old girl living with Pérez’s mother. Both traveled to Tijuana and were granted humanitarian parole to attend a memorial service in Los Angeles.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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