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Mom of 2 Sons Who Died in San Antonio Tractor-Trailer Tragedy Says They 'Had Dreams' of a Better Life

·3-min read

The mother of two victims from the San Antonio migrant tragedy says her sons were looking to build a better future in the United States when their lives were tragically cut short.

Karen Caballero, of Honduras, told Noticias Telemundo that her sons, Fernando José Redondo Caballero and Alejandro Miguel Andino Caballero, were among the 53 people declared dead after a tractor-trailer with dozens of migrants aboard was found Monday in southwest San Antonio.

In the interview, translated by NBC News, Caballero said her sons "were so excited" for their trip to the United States.

"Every day, they asked me, 'Mom, when are we going to go?' " she tearfully said in Spanish, per NBC News.

RELATED: San Antonio Mayor Hopes for Justice Following 'Horrific Human Tragedy' of Tractor-Trailer Deaths

The mother said that her sons began their journey on June 4, according to Reuters, which cited separate media interviews. Also joining the brothers was Margie Tamara Paz, 24, whom Caballero referred to as her daughter-in-law, the Washington Post reported.

"They had dreams as a couple," she told a Honduran television network, per Reuters. "They had goals, and here they wouldn't fulfill them."

Before her sons left for the U.S., Caballero recalled telling them "I hope you triumph" before exchanging hugs and kisses, per NBC News.

Caballero said she lost contact with her sons on Saturday morning, Reuters reported. Two days later, the horrific tragedy was discovered.

The Honduran government has since confirmed that identification documents for the brothers and Paz were found inside the tractor-trailer, according to the news agency.

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Forty-eight people were found dead at the scene on Monday, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. 22 of the individuals were Mexican nationals while seven were from Guatemala and two from Honduras. Authorities couldn't identify the origin of 17 of the deceased but it's believed they are undocumented non-citizens.

Sixteen other individuals were taken from the scene to a nearby hospital where five died, bringing the death toll to 53. "Officials are working with foreign consulate offices for proper notifications to family members of the deceased," the DOJ said.

In the news release, the Department of Justice said that a man who allegedly was driving the tractor-trailer was in custody and had been charged with smuggling resulting in death.

A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to PEOPLE earlier Wednesday that three additional suspects were in custody.

RELATED: San Antonio Fire Chief Details Gruesome Scene After 46 People Found Dead in Trailer: 'Stacks of Bodies'

Alejandro was just about to complete a marketing degree, while Paz held a degree in economics, Caballero told Noticias Telemundo, per NBC News. However, neither were successful in finding work, she said.

"We all planned it as a family so they could have a different life, so they could achieve goals, dreams," she told the Washington Post.

"My children leave a void in my heart," she added. "We're going to miss them a lot."

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