Family seeks answers after Oregon student injured on train trip from Denver to Portland

Aaron Salazar (Courtesy GoFundMe)

The family of an Oregon college student is searching for answers after the 22-year-old was found injured and unconscious near railroad tracks in Truckee, California.

Aaron Salazar remains in the critical care unit at a hospital in Reno, Nevada, after he was injured last week while traveling by train from Denver to Portland, where he attends Portland State University, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.

The Amtrak train was scheduled to stop in Truckee for just a few minutes.

Salazar's cousin Sonia Trujillo says the family wants to know the circumstances that left him in Truckee but Amtrak has provided very few details. Salazar is in a coma with damage to his brain stem and a broken pelvis.

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

Family members were told Salazar jumped out of a moving train.

Amtrak's police department says they can't comment on ongoing investigations. The company says criminal intent is not suspected.

But based on his injuries, family members believe he was beaten.

"There's no injuries on him showing that he jumped off a train going 50 to 70 mph," said Trujillo.

The family believes Salazar was targeted because he is gay, and they believe a hate crime was committed.

"The burns don't make no sense. That's the part that we're concerned about. Where did these burns come from? Because they are severe burns," Trujillo said.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help Salazar's family pay for his treatment.

Portland State released the following statement on Tuesday:

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.

Salazar is a junior at PSU and is studying economics.

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