A 15-year-old South Texas boy has been charged with nine counts of murder among other charges after a van he was driving crashed, killing nine of the suspected illegal immigrants packed inside.

The boy, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, appeared at a probable cause hearing Monday. He was also charged with 17 counts of smuggling a person and causing serious bodily harm including death, and one count of evading.

The boy told investigators he drove the van because his family had been threatened, Palmview police Chief Chris Barrera said.