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Burns & Gambo

Updated Jul 10, 2013 - 1:07 pm

Murder charge to be sought in Arizona heat-exhaustion case

FLORENCE, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff's Office said it will ask two Phoenix residents be charged with murder in Wednesday's heat exhaustion-related death of an immigrant.

The man had been found Sunday, along with seven other immigrants, in the back of a truck parked at an Interstate 10 gas station northwest of Tucson.

Sheriff's spokesman Tim Gaffney said the office was notified early Wednesday that the victim, from Mexico, died at a hospital. His identity is being withheld pending notification of family.

Tim Gaffney said the office will request a felony murder charge be filed against the driver, 25-year-old Nathan Lamb, and his passenger, 25-year-old Elizabeth Kay, both of Phoenix.

Information provided by the Border Patrol and those in the truck indicated they had entered the county illegally, Gaffney said.

The people in the truck said they were traveling to Phoenix after being picked up in Douglas by a man who was driving the U-Haul truck and a woman who was the front-seat passenger, the sheriff's office said.

During the ride, many in the group of eight became severely dehydrated and overheated in triple-digit temperatures inside the truck, according to authorities.

Someone called 911 after seeing people stagger out of the vehicle when it stopped.

Lamb and Kay told detectives that they heard the people in the back of the truck pounding and banging but were afraid to stop right away.

When they did stop and then saw the condition of the people in the truck, Lamb and Kay fled, authorities said.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the people being transported each paid $5,000 to be driven to Phoenix.

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