The investigative work that makes up this post was exclusively conducted by myself, Ruth of IllegalProtest.com. Doing the job that the media won’t do. If you use this material, please give the credit to my hours of work.
I had many questions about the details of this story, that many in the media seemed all too happy to overlook in their zealous quest to elevate Jesus Manuel Cordova to hero status. Imagine that! An illegal alien who did something we would all consider normal human behavior - he chose not to abandon a 9 year old boy in the desert after the van his mother was driving rolled down a steep embankment in the desert.
So I requested and received a copy of the police report from the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s office. There are some very interesting differences in the report vs what was reported in the media.
Now I do agree that what Jesus Manuel Cordova did was indeed above and beyond what one would expect of a regular illegal alien who was sneaking into the US. He did a very kind thing by staying with the boy. However, he did not *rescue* the boy and after I received the initial police report of the incident today, I can safely say that perhaps he was actually *negligent* in his “heroic efforts”. A question came to my mind immediately upon reading through the report.
Here is the paragraph that begs for more information - this is the account given by Jesus Cordova to the police after the incident and it immediately follows his description of having encountered the boy in the area of the van accident approximately 1.5 hours after the accident (5:00pm) which had occurred at 3:30pm:
Manuel Jesus told me he approached the van and could hear a female’s voice complaining of pain or in agony. He told me he could not see or reach the female to aid her due to the rough and steep terrain. Manuel Jesus then told me he came back to the top of the canyon and started a campfire in hopes that someone would see the smoke and come to their aid.
Ok.. here is what bugs me about this. He HEARS the boy’s mother IN PAIN in the van. He tells the police he can’t reach her, but SHE WAS ALIVE WHEN CORDOVA ENCOUNTERED THE BOY AND THE ACCIDENT SCENE. It was 5pm - not exactly the dead of night. It was just beginning to get dark. They were located about 6 miles from State Route 289 and they were also about 6 miles from the Pena Blanca Lake campground where the boy and his mother had been staying.
And it gets better… this is what Cordova told Amanda Lee Myers of The Associated Press:
By the looks of the mangled van down below, Cordova said, it was obvious the boy’s mother had died. The child was distraught but did not cry.
“I felt frustrated and sad because I couldn’t do anything for the mother,” Cordova said. “And I didn’t know how to console the boy, so I just sat next to him.”
Cordova gave the boy the sweater he was wearing, climbed down to the van and found chocolate and cookies to feed him.
So Cordova was able to get to the van and find chocolate and cookies but he couldn’t help the mother? You would think a “hero” would have tried to get help for the mother while she was still alive. What kind of person makes a fire and sits next to it for fourteen hours while a woman lay dying nearby?
AND he told the police who couldn’t reach the van.. but he told Amanda Myers of the AP that he was able to find chocolate and cookies in the van.. Anyone thinking to ask Mr Cordova a few more questions???
If he were truly a hero as everyone is making him out to be, he would have tried to get help RIGHT AWAY before the boy’s mother died HOURS LATER while in agony the entire time. What kind of hero is that I ask you?
Thanks to Digger for reading the police report and finding this little gem of information in it regarding the condition of Dawn Tomko’s body found by the firefighter Teddy Sang:
Teddy Sang stated that he noticed the onset of rigor mortis.
This was after he pronounced her dead at 8:23am. So if you know anything about how long it takes for rigor mortis to set in, then that means Dawn Tomko, the boy’s mother, did not die until 3 or 4am.. about TEN HOURS after the so-called hero Jesus Manuel Cordova came upon the scene. Rigor mortis does not occur for at LEAST 3 hours after a person has died. Her injuries were not noticeable except for a large gash on her arm. So to anyone coming upon the accident scene it certainly was not apparent that she had died and now we know THAT SHE HAD NOT DIED until only 3-4 hours before help arrived! Had this so-called “hero” traveled the 6 miles to the White Rock Campground (average walking speed is about 3-4 miles per hour) , or in fact traveled in ANY direction to get help, he may have been able to save her life and that would have made him a true hero.
Here are directions to the Sycamore Canyone area where the accident happened, near the Pena Blanca Lake campground:
Access: Turn west off Interstate 19 at the Peña Blanca/Ruby Road ( AZ Hwy 289). The exit is approximately 8 miles north of Nogales. Follow this road 9 miles to Peña Blanca Recreation Area where the pavement ends and the Arivaca-Ruby Road becomes FR 39. Drive a total of 8.5 miles from the end of the pavement to the Sycamore Canyon Road (FR 218) which turns left (south) to the trailhead at the Hank and Yank Ruins historical marker.
To get to the Border Trail turn off FR 39 onto the Summit Motorway (FR 39A) 2.5 miles from the end of the pavement at Peña Blanca Lake. FR 39A is a 4-wheel drive road.
More details about Sycamore Canyon:
About 5 miles downstream of the trailhead, the canyon opens out and crosses a barbed wire fence that marks the Arizona/Mexico border. Here, you can either turn around and return the way you came or turn east and travel along a little-used pathway called the Border Trail. This foot and horse path was put here to provide access for maintenance of the international boundary fence. It leads over the grassy foothills of the Pajaritos to the end of the Summit Motorway (FR 39A), which may sound like a thoroughfare, but it’s a 4-wheel drive road.
Here’s a map of the Pena Blanca area as well:
Click to view larger size
And here is the description from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office police report of the accident location:
From the reporting officer: I then proceeded onto State Route 289 until I reached Forest Service Road 39. I reset the vehicle odometer at the entrance of Forest Service Road 39 from State Route 289. I proceeded in a southwestern direction on the narrow mountain road until I reached the collision scene at approximately mile post six on Forest Service Road 39.
In my mind, if Jesus Manuel Cordova had truly been a hero, he would have walked to find help that was not that far away, rather than passively setting a fire and waiting for someone to discover them. Why did he wait until morning to do so? Why did he not try to get help for the dying Dawn Tomko? Why did he let her spend her last hours dying in agony?
And I have some other questions too. How in the world did Christopher Buchleitner AND two dogs escape this accident with only minor injuries? That is truly the miracle in this story - not that Jesus Manuel Cordova did what any human being would have done.. but then again maybe he didn’t.
Other posts on this topic can be found here
Oh and in case you didn’t hear, Rep Raul Grijalva introduced a private bill on December 7th, 2007 to get this illegal alien, Jesus Manuel Cordova, a special Visa for his heroic actions. The bill is HR 4339. Chances of this bill ever getting passed are slim but there are people like Luis Gutierrez and Sheila Jackon Lee on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration so you never know what under-handed crap this committee might succeed in slipping in. Call your House Representative and let him know you don’t think Jesus Manuel Cordova deserves any part of citizenship for what he did on November 22nd. If someone thinks he deserves a reward, why don’t they send him some American dollars to his Mexican family?