Man left brain damaged in crash 16 years ago is finally identified
A previously unidentified man who's been on life support in a California care facility since 1999 finally has a name.
The Mexican Consulate in San Diego announced Friday that the man, known to his caregivers only as 'Garage 66' until now, has been reunited with his family.
The breakthough came after activist groups, Mexican and U.S. government officials, and staff from U.S. Customs and Border Protection were brought together by Enrique Morones from the non-profit Border Angels to help finally ID the man.
The man is believed to be in his mid-30s but his name is not being made public at the behest of family members who've also opted to remain anonymous.
According to inewsource, who first reported on the man in February 2015, he arrived at the Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility in 1999 after he was injured in a crash that some believe occurred as he was crossing illegally into the U.S. from Mexico.
Known as Garage for short, the man was eventually identified by a Border Patrol forensics team who used information including fingerprints, face scans and DNA to track down Garage's family.
"I was so overjoyed and I thought this is fantastic," Morones said. "My whole purpose was just to get the family to see their relative — son, brother, whatever the case may be — (and) know he's alive."
Care for Garage reportedly costs the state about $700 a day, paid for by tax-funded Medi-Cal, California's health insurance program for the poor.
State law reportedly allows for California to pay for the long-term care of people in the U.S. illegally.
Garage is on a ventilator and does not respond to outside stimuli. It remained unclear in the days following his identification exactly what will now happen to Garage.