The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is seeking murder charges against two Phoenix residents accused of smuggling immigrants in a U-Haul truck in which the temperature reached nearly 180 degrees, resulting in the death of one person and the hospitalization of many others.
Deputies arrested Nathan Lamb, 25, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Kay, 25, in connection with the death.
On Sunday, deputies responded to a call near the Bowlins Travel Center near Interstate 10 and Picacho Peak from someone who said they saw several people fall out of the truck after it had parked and the driver opened the back door.
The Sheriff's Office believes there were as many as 20 people crammed in the truck. Emergency responders treated many in the group for dehydration, fatigue, and heatstroke, which caused vomiting, loss of bowel control, and unconsciousness.
Temperatures inside the U-Haul are thought to have reached almost 180 degrees.
Two people were airlifted to hospitals, and ambulances carried six others to local hospitals. Early this morning, deputies learned that one of the people died while on life support.
Lamb and Kay admitted to detectives they transported the immigrants from Douglas and were headed to Phoenix, deputies say. They told authorities that while driving they heard "pounding and banging" sounds from inside the truck but were too scared to stop, fearing they'd be caught.
When they finally pulled over in the parking lot of the travel center, they saw the horrible state of their cargo and split.
The immigrants told deputies they each paid $5,000 to be smuggled to Phoenix. The moving truck had two mattresses on the floor and what appeared to be a bucket in the back corner.
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Police have recommended murder charges for Lamb and Kay -- among other charges -- but that decision will be made by the County Attorney's Office.