Bodies of father, daughter who drowned in Rio Grande head home

The bodies of a Salvadoran father and his young daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande will travel back home by land, Salvadoran officials said Friday.

“We made the decision for it to be by land because it was a much quicker and more direct procedure,” Rafael Rosales, consul general of El Salvador in Monterrey, Mexico, told reporters.

A photographer captured an image this week of Oscar Alberto Martinez and 23-month-old Angie Valeria Martinez face down in murky waters littered with weeds near Matamoros. The photograph shook viewers worldwide and was a reminder of the harsh realities of the migration crisis and risks taken to reach the southern US border.

Martinez’s wife and the child’s mother, Tania Avalos, traveled to Salvador on Friday but the bodies will be transferred from Monterrey to El Salvador later, Rosales said.

El Salvador Vice Minister of Foreign Relations Mauricio Cabrera said the repatriation of the bodies “will take place in the next days.” The Salvadoran foreign ministry had said Thursday the bodies were expected to be flown on a commercial flight to San Salvador.

Cabrera said he greeted Avalos at San Salvador’s international airport on Friday. She has told officials that she “does not want media attention,” he said.

Funeral arrangements have already been made.

Natalie Gallón reported from Matamoros, Mexico. Chandler Thornton wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Catherine Shoichet contributed to this report.