Missing woman found dead in Nogales Wash

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Missing woman found dead in Nogales Wash

By Craig Smith. CREATED Aug 15, 2014

NOGALES Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - An international search had a sad outcome in Nogales Friday

Firefighters from Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora teamed up to search for 43 year old Karla Salazar, a Mexican woman missing since flood waters engulfed her car with her, her husband and eight year old boy on a busy street in Nogales, Mexico on Thursday.

Late Friday they found her body.  Family members confirmed her identity.

The Nogales Wash can go from barely ripppling to raging in just a few minutes of heavy rain.  Flood waters ripped a Mexican woman away from her family, carried her across the border and triggered an international search.

By late afternoon searchers from both sides of the border knew they had found the missing woman but she was dead.

Firefighters from Nogales Arizona joined with firefighters from Nogales Sonora to search for the woman powerful flood waters pulled miles from her family and their car caught in flood waters in Mexico.

Waters were still high when firefighters and police in Nogales Arizona started watching the wash for the woman.

Fire crews saw her in the water face down.  They tried to get her, but couldn't.

Nogales Fire Chief Hector Robles says it was terribly frustrating to come so close. "We threw our ropes.  We threw our cinches and it was just so, so fast that, even if she was looking for rescue, just by the speed she would have not been able to grab that line."

The Sonoran Fire Chief says the same floods that took the woman almost took five of his firefighters as they tried to use their heavy fire truck to protect cars from the rushing water on the Mexican side.

Commandante Manuel Hernandez-Dominguez told us, “They felt the engine was moving. They got out of the engine and they got dragged about 500 meters. At that time they were able to get back on the engine.  The engine wasn't working but everyone was safe."

Once water in Nogales Wash dropped enough to allow a foot by foot search, firefighters from both countries searched for the missing woman, and after a short break searched again.  That's when they found her.

Though it had a sad outcome, the search was an example of cross border cooperation between the two Nogales that both cities are proud of.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

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Craig enjoys using innovative writing and visuals to make difficult stories easier to understand. As a newsroom manager at KGUN 9, Craig was part of the team that won three best newscast awards from Arizona Associated Press