Family says college student "beaten and left by railroad for dead" in Truckee

Aaron Salazar.jpg

A family is searching for answers after a man was found critically injured near train tracks in Truckee on May 15th.

The family of 22-year-old Aaron Salazar says he was traveling from Denver to Portland on an Amtrak train before he was discovered with severe injuries next to the tracks.

According to a GoFundMe account, the family believes Salazar was "beaten and left by the railroad for dead."

The GoFundMe account was set up by Austin Sailas. According to Facebook, Sailas is a cousin of Salazar. So far, nearly $8,000 has been raised.

The family says Salazar is dealing with serious injuries.

"He was taken to the hospital and is currently fighting for his life with multiple injuries including a [sic] multiple brain injuries, a broken pelvis, and severe burns on his thighs," reads the GoFundMe page.

It is unclear exactly what happened to Salazar during his trip. He was found about four miles from downtown Truckee before being taken to Renown Hospital in Reno where he remains unresponsive as of Tuesday evening.

The family says the train was scheduled to make a brief, 8 minute stop in Truckee. It is unknown if Salazar got off the train during that stop. The last time the family heard from him was in a text message.

"He sent his grandmother a text message saying he'd met a friend on the train and they have a layover in Sacramento, so they were going to go exploring and have lunch," said Sonia Trujillo, a cousin of Salazar.

Investigators have not revealed to News 4 if he jumped off the train, fell off the train, left the train in Truckee, or any other possible scenario.

The family says investigators have told them he possibly jumped off the train. But Trujillo says Salazar's injures are consistent with a beating instead.

"There's no injuries on him showing he jumped off a train going between 50 and 70 miles an hour," added Trujillo.

Trujillo also said a doctor at Renown told the family Salazar's injuries are consistent with an attack.

Efforts to get more conclusive information about the mysterious incident have been unsuccessful.

News 4 reached out to the Truckee Police Department over the weekend. A spokesperson directed inquiries to the Union Pacific Police Department.

A spokesperson for the Union Pacific Police department told News 4 Amtrak Police is actually investigating the incident.

In a statement Amtrak Police said they are "conducting an ongoing investigation into this incident. At this time, there is nothing to suggest criminal intent."

When asked if they could confirm that Salazar was found severely injured near the train tracks in Truckee, Amtrak Police directed inquiries back to the Truckee Police department saying "both of your questions about time and location are best directed to the police in Truckee, they were among the first responders."

As of 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Truckee Police have not responded to our request for information.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.

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