Train to Nowhere: Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation
Colleen Bradford Krantz
Ice Cube Press
For those who live in Iowa, it is not unusual to observe trains with coal and grain cars marked with graffiti that seem to be endless. Whether the railroad cars are full or empty, their constant presence is part of the landscape. Who would expect there to be eleven dead bodies in a grain car of one train headed to be loaded with grain in a remote Iowa town?
In the small town of Denison, Iowa, during 2002, a worker was inspecting the grain cars before loading them at the local elevator. As he unlocked one car, he looked a little longer, believing that he was seeing a shadow. When the shadow resembled human skeletons, he immediately informed the local law enforcement agency.
After further investigation, eleven skeletons were discovered. These were people who apparently willingly entered this grain car with the idea that they would only be temporarily locked inside. However, the short time turned out to be months of being baked inside a metal car during the hot, humid summer months. Who were these people? Why would anyone willingly enter a locked train car during a hot Texas summer?
Train to Nowhere investigates who these people. Why would anyone take a chance to be locked in this grain car? What would make someone take a chance on entering and allowing themselves to be locked into this metal oven?
This story mainly centers on one person whose family searched diligently for him and finally found him on this train.
From the varied perspectives of the families of the survivors to those who have been considered to be responsible for their deaths to the investigators, Train to Nowhere uniquely keeps each of their stories unbiased allowing the readers to develop their own judgments about who is responsible for these deaths. This novel also has extensive research into the aspects of the health issues as these eleven suffered tortuous deaths as well as the issues involving illegal immigration in this country.
Colleen Bradford Krantz was masterful with writing this novel. Her journalistic expertise demonstrated only factual information as in a court case with the reader being the jury, passing judgment on who is to blamed for this horrendous tragedy. This book has also been also made into a PBS documentary.
It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction, read Train to Nowhere. You decide who is responsible and how to be certain that this never happens to any living soul again.