9 minutes ago • By Perla Trevizo

April saw the fewest recovered border-crosser remains in more than a decade, but the triple-digit temperatures of the deadliest months have just arrived.

As of May 30 this fiscal year, the remains of 57 people trying to come into the United States through Southern Arizona have been recovered, data from the Pima County medical examiner show. But there were five bodies found in both April and May. That’s about half the number of bodies found during those months over the last decade.

The number of remains is not the actual number of people dying but the number of people found.

“We will continue to find remains for years to come even if nobody crosses,” said Gregory Hess, chief medical examiner in Pima County

As people tried to cross through more rugged terrain to avoid being caught, the number of border deaths jumped. Since 2001, at least 2,300 migrants have died in the attempt to cross through the desert.

Even with fewer migrants coming across the border, the rate at which people were dying didn’t decrease until fiscal year 2014. This year seems to be following that trend.

The Border Patrol reports 70 deaths in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the other deadliest sectors along the U.S.-Mexico border, plus 416 rescues as of May 19.

Nearly 300 people have been rescued in the Tucson Border Patrol sector — including Jesús Chávez, a 32-year-old Mexican national who was stranded in the desert for eight days without food or water.

Chávez started his trek May 16, traveling with two of his brothers and nine others. His high blood pressure prevented him from keeping up with the rest of the group.

On May 22 the smuggler told the group to run because he heard Border Patrol trucks nearby. Everyone scattered. Ignacio Chávez, one of the brothers, separated and hid with another migrant.

Jesús and his older brother, Esteban Chávez, ran in another direction.

A couple of days later the Border Patrol rescued Ignacio and the other man, who had sat in the middle of the road hoping to be found. Ignacio Chávez was deported through Mexicali on May 25.

Jesús Chávez and his brother Esteban didn’t have the same luck. They kept walking and Jesús kept falling behind. “I give up,” he would say.

Three days after the smuggler abandoned them, Jesús Chávez told his brother to leave him behind. “You need to find help now, I can’t no more,” Jesús said. “Good luck brother, I hope you find the way out.”

Esteban took off his brother’s shirt and shoes and left pieces of cactus by his side so he could suck out the moisture and try to stay hydrated.

As he walked through the desert, Esteban tried to leave a trail behind. He’d wrap a shirt on a branch, or carve into a cactus hoping they’d be clues for a path back to his ailing brother.

But he became dehydrated and quickly got lost. Eventually Estaban Chávez was caught by the Border Patrol and deported Thursday through Nogales.

Meanwhile, Graciela Chávez, Jesús’ wife, had been calling the Mexican Consulate, Derechos Humanos and the Border Patrol looking for her husband of 15 years.

Esteban Chávez called her the day he was deported. Sobbing, he apologized and told her what had happened.

The following morning she flew into Phoenix from California on her way to the Border Patrol station in Tucson.

Coordinating with other law enforcement agencies, the consulate and humanitarian groups, the Border Patrol sent out choppers and even brought Esteban Chávez back from Mexico to help look for the missing man.

The search was suspended about 9 p.m. Friday. By that point Jesús Chávez had been in the desert for 13 days, seven of which he endured without food or water. During the time he was lost, the remains of four people were found.

At about 7 a.m. Saturday, a Pima County sheriff’s deputy was driving on a dirt road off Arizona 286 when he found Jesús Chávez lying next to the road. He was conscious but very dehydrated.

Graciela Chávez, who saw her husband at the hospital on Saturday, said he almost gave up; his legs couldn’t carry him anymore. But then he heard their middle son’s voice. “Dad, get up. Dad, get up,” he heard him say.

He opened his eyes, Graciela said, and saw his son and a bottle of water in the distance.

“OK mijo, I’m coming to get you,” he said and walked for a few more hours before he collapsed at the place where the deputy found him.

Jesús Chávez had lived in California since he was about 14 or 15, Graciela said, but was deported in 2007.

He lived near the border in Tecate, Baja California, where Graciela and their three children, ages 7 to 11, would visit until about four years ago, when their eldest daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis.

“He insisted that we move to Mexico but I couldn’t do it,” Graciela said. There were the doctors’ appointments, her job as a receptionist and their children’s lack of Spanish.

Now, she said, she regrets it.

“Think twice before your family makes that decision,” she said about crossing into the United States. “I learned the hard way.”

On Tuesday, Graciela Chávez lit a votive candle at El Tiradito shrine to give thanks for her husband’s life. She prayed for migrants who are missing and for those who didn’t make it, she said.

Jesús was charged with illegal entry and illegal re-entry after a deportation. His next court appearance is on June 8. None of that matters Graciela Chávez said.

“Whatever life brings us, who cares,” she said, adding that might include having to live in Mexico. “He’s alive.”