Feds whisk Mexican boy with massive tumor to U.S.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 9-year-old boy with a massive tumor was whisked from a dangerous neighborhood in Mexico in an armored vehicle by U.S. federal agents and taken across the border for treatment in New Mexico, his family said.

The boy and his parents were snatched Thursday from the gang-infested neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez — one of the deadliest cities in the world — after members of a New Mexico Baptist church saw him near an orphanage and sought help.

The parents of the child, identified by officials only as Jose to protect his family, said the tumor on his shoulder and neck has grown so large that it affects his eyesight and could move into his heart.

With no money for medical care, the family sought treatment in Juarez and El Paso, but did not receive any help removing the tumor, which has afflicted Jose since birth.

Si Budagher, pastor of First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho, N.M., said the church members spotted the boy while doing missionary work and felt compelled to do something to help him.

“He just came up to us and offered to carry groceries,” Budagher said. “The Lord put him in front of us.”

Church members only recently resumed missionary work in the border city after suspending visits there due to the deadly violence between competing drug cartels. The violence has claimed thousands of lives.

Denise Gutierrez, a victim assistance coordinator for Homeland Security Investigations, said she felt compelled to help as soon as she saw photos of Jose.

“I refused to believe that there was nothing we could do for this boy,” she said.

Gutierrez said the boy and his parents were granted a 45-day humanitarian visa for treatment in New Mexico, and a coalition of U.S. federal agencies began working to get them into the United States.

The U.S. Border Patrol helped the family enter the country.

Asked Friday about the ride in the armored vehicle, Jose’s eyes widen before he covered his face with his hands. “I like it here,” he said.

Budagher said the church has set up a fund for private donations and is helping with the cost of the family’s stay in the U.S. The church is also seeking help from doctors to examine Jose.

It’s still unclear, however, what treatment is needed or if he’ll need to return for follow-up visits.

“We all trying to stay positive and believe that there is something we can do for this boy and his family,” said Kevin Abar, assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New Mexico.

Jose said he’s not sure what he will do when the tumor is removed.

“Play soccer,” he offered. “Maybe ride a bike.”

More in Local News

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Most Read