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Honduran boy escapes gang life and flees to Las Vegas

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Updated: 6/28 7:08 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Thousands of children are fleeing violence in Central America. Often the journey north is just as perilous as the violence at home.

Donatila Cordova left Honduras ten years ago. Her toddler, Eduardo Perez, stayed behind with his grandparents in the small town of Yoro. Cordova came to Las Vegas because of a cousin here, and started a new life and a new family, but missed Eduardo.

"Sometimes not knowing about him, sometimes there's a sign but there hasn't been. Sometimes I get called, sometimes I don't. It's very hard," Cordova said.

Meanwhile her son, Eduardo, was having a lot of trouble with gangs trying to lure him into using and selling cocaine.

"He says there's a group of boys doing drugs and they kept beating him," Cordova said.

Cordova says they also threatened his life, so Eduardo just couldn't take it anymore and asked if he could come to the U.S. For $7,000 paid to a 'coyote' -- someone who transports immigrants -- he left the small town of Yoro and made his way through three countries before arriving in Reynosa to cross into McAllen, Texas.

"He said it was very hard. Sometimes he didn't eat, sometimes only one meal, and they had to make it last. Only one night or two nights they slept in the hills," Cordova said.

Eduardo says he traveled with other children ages three, five, and nine.

The little ones, he told his mother, cried frequently during the long trip, usually because of hunger. He says the adults they encountered were cruel to the children. When they arrived in McAllen, they didn't make it through immigration, and that's when Cordova was called by the authorities.

Her son was at a refugee center with other children until she flew him to Las Vegas.

"When I went to pick him up at the airport, I could never forget his little face and it was very emotional for me. He didn't recognize me," Cordova said.

Now Eduardo and his mother are reunited for at least a year.

While Eduardo is trying to have a normal childhood here in Las Vegas with school and video games, he and his mother are worried all that could change when he must report to court. Cordova says she expects a court date set for next February.

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