Investigative Fund fellow John Carlos Frey has won a 2014 George Polk Award for Network Television Reporting. Along with Marisa Venegas of Telemundo and Solly Granatstein of the Weather Channel, Frey will be honored for "Muriendo por Cruzar (Dying to Cross)," which aired on Telemundo in Spanish and was broadcast in English on the Weather Channel as "The Real Death Valley."
According to a press release from Long Island University, which administers the awards, the investigation is being recognized for exploring "the largely unreported plight of migrants in the harsh desert terrain of Brooks County, Texas, where more than 400 bodies have been found in the past five years."
The documentary investigates the South Texas area where migrants make an often-fatal journey on foot to avoid a Border Patrol checkpoint that is 70 miles from the US-Mexico border.
In the piece, Frey walks the same four-day, 40-mile route around the checkpoint that many migrants take and speaks with people working to identify bodies found in the area and migrants who have made the dangerous crossing. Frey uncovers the lack of resources that local law enforcement has to reach migrants in need—instead, migrants must rely on US Border Patrol. While the investigation found that typical emergency response in the area is under 20 minutes, Border Patrol response times averaged nearly 2.5 hours.
The awardees will be honored at a ceremony at The Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan on Friday, April 10. Click here for a full list of winners.