PSU student found critically injured near Amtrak train tracks in - KPTV - FOX 12

PSU student found critically injured near Amtrak train tracks in California

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Aaron Salazar Aaron Salazar
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A Portland State University student was found critically injured near Amtrak train tracks in Truckee, California.

His family claims he was beaten and left for dead, and they want answers. 

Aaron Salazar, 22, was on his way back to Portland on May 15 from visiting family in Colorado and was found unconscious with multiple injuries.

Salazar’s family says he’s in a coma with a damaged brain stem and pelvis. 

He was texting his grandmother on his ride, and it was the last text conversation he had before he was found unconscious. 

Here’s that text conversation: 

Grandmother: “Are you home yet?” 
Salazar: “Not yet.” 
Grandmother: “Home yet?” 
Salazar: “Not yet, I wish though. This damn train is taking forever lol and I have to stop in Sacramento. 
I have a layover before getting on the next train, I made a friend on the train though and we’re going to go get some food and explore in the meantime though.” 
Grandma: “Be safe let me know.” 

But Salazar never made it onto his next train. 

A train employee found him unconscious next to the tracks. 

“He had a black eye. A swollen face. He had burns on his crotch area. Blisters, giant blisters. A broken pelvis. And a damaged brain stem,” said cousin Austin Sailas. 

Sailas told FOX 12 Tuesday that the family believes Salazar was attacked by the “new friend” he made on the train because he’s gay. 

“No sane person would attack someone's crotch like that unless there was some sort of motivation,” Sailas said.

Cousin Sonia Trujillo said, “I believe it was something deeper because the burn marks. Why burn somebody? If you're going to hurt somebody, hurt them. But why are you going to burn somebody?” 

Amtrak released the following statement Tuesday: 

"The Amtrak Police Department, in coordination with local authorities, is conducting an ongoing investigation into this incident and we are in contact with the family to provide them updates. At this time, there is nothing to suggest criminal intent. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Amtrak Police Department at 800-331-0008."

The family says there are conflicting reports about where he was actually found. 

They’ve been told he may have jumped from the train and was found farther from the tracks. And they’ve also been told that he was found near the tracks. 

The family doesn’t believe he was trying to commit suicide. 

At this point, they say they are left without answers. 

“Aaron's going to come out stronger and that this person is going to pay,” Sailas said.  

PSU also released a statement Tuesday, saying, “The PSU community is deeply saddened to receive news about Aaron Salazar's condition. We are praying for him and his family during this difficult time. We have reached out to Aaron's family to offer them support.”

Anyone with information about Salazar’s case should contact the Amtrak Police Department. 

The family has set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than its goal of $10,000. 

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