Eight people were found dead in a trailer packed with suspected smuggling victims at a Walmart parking lot in San Antonio early Sunday, police said .
More than two dozen people found inside the trailer around 12:30 a.m., with some suffering from heatstroke and dehydration, authorities said.
San Antonio police Chief William McManus said he suspects human trafficking at the heart of the incident. Police said at least 38 people were inside the trailer after someone inside the truck managed to get out and ask a Walmart employee for water.
At least two children were among the dead, McManus told reporters outside the Walmart.
Fire Chief Charles Hood said the vehicle’s air conditioning was not working and there was no sign of water. Temperatures in the south Texas city had reached triple-digits on Saturday.
“They were very hot to the touch,” Hood said of the victims.
First responders treated the discovery as a mass-casualty incident, taking 20 people to hospitals in serious and critical condition. Eight more people were treated for less severe injuries, officials said.
McManus said police arrested the truck driver. He was not immediately identified and it’s unclear how long the trailer had been parked.
This is a developing story and will be updated.