Episode 27: Jose Ricardo Garay

August 07, 2017

Jose Ricardo Garay, who went by Rick, was last seen on or around July 30th, 2009. Rick’s case is complicated and controversial because he went missing while attempting to enter the country illegally through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. In this episode, we talk with Anne, Rick’s fiancee, and Chelsea Halstead from The Colibri Center for Human Rights, one of the few resources that family members of undocumented migrants have when looking for their missing loved one. 


Rick’s NamUS file

The Colibri Center for Human Rights 

Links to information in episode:

Migration Policy Institute article on post-war recovery in El Salvador 

National Geographic article 

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  1. Andrea says:

    How devastating. I hope Anne gets the answers she deserves some day. Thank you for another fantastic and educational podcast, you guys rock.

  2. Rosie says:

    Firstly I love your podcast! Secondly how sad that Anne has felt such awful negativity whilst telling her story in the past! No one deserves to loose someone they love in this way no matter what the circumstances! I really hope Rick is found safely & is returned to his family where he should be xxx

    1. Janet says:

      Wow. Just wow. What an incredible, heart-wrenching, and powerful story, one that desperately needed to be told. I applaud you all for bravely taking on this enormous subject, especially during this culturally contentious time in our history, and putting a human face on it. You deserve tremendous accolades for this work. Well done, deeply moving, and should resonate with us all. It is this type of research and story-telling that makes your podcast the best of the best.

      1. thinairpodcast says:

        Thank you so much!

  3. Cheryl Roberts says:

    I absolutely love this Podcast. However, this week’s Podcast is a slap in the face to every American and every LEGAL immigrant. No responsible man would father a child knowing he could be deported, leaving his child behind. Once deported, he turns around, and tries to enter this country illegally. If he did sneak in and then found a job, he would be working here ILLEGALLY. His girlfriend is also despicable, using her poor child as a pawn to gain sympathy. If he had the integrity to enter the U.S. legally he wouldn’t be wandering around some desert. No sympathy here. He made the choices; no one to blame but himself.

    1. thinairpodcast says:

      The crisis of death and disappearances on our Southern Border is preventable. Rick was not a perfect person, but whatever he did, he didn’t deserve to die a painful and solitary death in the desert. We wanted to show why Rick made the choices he did, despite knowing the danger, and to plead for empathy, for understanding, and for compassion. He is not ILLEGAL, he is a human being who was desperately trying to return to his family. Legal routes to citizenship are of course ideal, but aren’t an option for many who are fleeing terrible situations or returning to their families. A good resource for more information is here: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1.
      Don’t speak for what all immigrants would think about Rick’s situation: I bet they are more likely to empathize than feel insulted by his choice. I think it is abhorrent that you call Anne despicable for discussing her son: how distrustful of other human beings you must be if a mother can’t talk about her own child without you deeming it manipulative. I am sorry you felt disappointed by this episode. There are plenty of other podcasts out there, and I’m sure you can find one which discuss cases and people you find worthy of your sympathy. -Jordan

    2. Jax says:

      Wow Cheryl. You sound like a real piece of work. I don’t know how you could hear his story and say the things you’ve said. I know many legal immigrants that have nothing but support for ALL immigrants. Don’t assume everyone is as xenophobic and heartless as you.

    3. v pierce says:

      I’m an American citizen as well as the child of a “legal” immigrant (humans cannot be legal or illegal by the way) and the only thing here I find offensive is your comment Cheryl. I’m sorry for whatever you’ve gone thru to make you such a hateful and distrusting person, but I guarantee you that whatever it is won’t be solved by your comments towards this grieving family. This was a touching story, Anne is so strong to have told it with such composure and I appreciate this podcast for using their platform to shine a light on the situations and complications some may face when trying to immigrant to the US.

  4. Michelle says:

    Heart breaking! This is a very sad story. Where is the humanity these days. Anne just sounded defeated! This is a story definitely worth telling. Thank you.

  5. B says:

    All of your episodes are thoughtful and touching, but I thought this one was especially powerful and the complexity of the subject well presented and timely. Thank you.

    1. thinairpodcast says:

      Thank you so much. -Jordan

  6. Andy says:

    What was his crime? Why was that left out?

    1. thinairpodcast says:

      Hi Andy,
      We couldn’t find any information on what the crime was specifically, and Anne didn’t share it. It is possible that he was arrested for not having legal status.

      It also wasn’t relevant to his story of going missing in the desert, and the larger issue of immigrants facing horrible deaths there. Some other articles on Rick’s case can give you more information about him, but none name his crime. -Jordan


  7. NB says:

    ‘Run in with the police,’ is something I had a big problem with. Police do not routinely lock up and deport people who are not wanted for some other crime. I found it convenient that this was left out of the story, apparently by your source. Perhaps she doesn’t even know what his criminal record was, since it’s pretty hard to verify anything about someone who is ‘undocumented.’

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