PECOS – A federal jury convicted a Fort Stockton man this week of one count of endangerment of a child.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on February 5, 2022, Big Bend National Park Rangers found an abandoned vehicle belonging to Hector Flores Jr., 48, located in a very remote part of Big Bend National Park about 20 miles from the Mexican border. Birth certificates for Flores and a nine-year-old child were found in the vehicle. Evidence in the area suggested the nine-year-old was with Flores. Park Rangers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel initiated a search.
Further investigation revealed Flores withdrew the child from school on January 4 and did not enroll the child in a new school. Around January 28, 2022, a camera recorded Flores’ vehicle entering Big Bend National Park. Flores’ vehicle was found in an area that offers no food, water or shelter. On February 14, 2022, Mexican authorities located Flores and the child in Mexico and detained Flores but returned the child to the U.S. The child reported to authorities that they ran out of food and had not eaten for four days. In addition, the weather from January 28 to February 13 included subfreezing temperatures and heavy rains.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey, El Paso Field Office, made the announcement.
The FBI and the Big Bend National Park Service, with valuable assistance from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott V. Greenbaum and William Calve are prosecuting the case.