Jackets confiscated by Mexican border agents will not be returned

San Diegans tried donating to needy Tijuana kids

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego benefactor has given up in her attempt to find out what happened to the 60 winter jackets meant for needy children in Tijuana that were confiscated by Mexican border agents.

"I've tried the best I can to retrieve these jackets and I have gotten nowhere," 81-year-old Flo Murphy told 10News.

For the past six years, Murphy has purchased dozens of high-end jackets and donated them to needy children in Mexico. However, this year, 78-year-old volunteer Paul Cecil was detained by Mexican border agents while delivering those jackets. The jackets were confiscated and never returned.

"My mind can't wrap around … why?" said Murphy.

For the past six weeks, Murphy has gone back and forth on the phone and by email with Mexican officials trying to get the jackets back.

"We were just trying to bring jackets over to the poor," she said.

According to an email to Murphy from Luis Cortes at the Mexican Consulate, Cecil signed a document written in Spanish when he was released at the border. The email said, "if he signed the document 'Abandon of Merchandise,' the items are not recoverable."

Another email recommended Murphy hire a Mexican attorney to try to get the jackets back.

Murphy told 10News she can't afford it and doesn't intend to go through this again next November. She would need to follow the declaration process for donations and "unfortunately, this information is only in Spanish," said the email.

"There's poor on both sides of the border and I just can't possibly go through what I've gone through this year," said Murphy.

She said she would buy more jackets this November, but they'll go to San Diego's needy children instead.

"It's not stopping. It's going to go on," Murphy said.

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