FALFURRIAS (KFXV) — Students and forensic anthropologists from Texas State University in San Marcos and the University of Indianapolis began digging up multiple grave sites at Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias– where dozens of undocumented immigrants were buried years ago.
This is the third exhumation in Brooks County, where more than 170 human remains have been recovered since 2013– in an effort to properly document and identify the deceased.
“The first step of the identification process for these individuals, once we find the burials and we remove those individuals from the ground, we can then begin the forensic investigation and conduct the scientific tests and through their identity,” said Krista Latham, associate professor of biology and anthropology at the University of Indianapolis.
Falfurrias, has one of the largest migrant death numbers– taking into account the dangerous paths, human traffickers take to avoid being caught, but despite those high immigration numbers– federal funding has yet to kick in.
“I don’t think it would even be possible for us because we don’t have the resources. we don’t have the experts that can analyze anything that needs to be analyzed and to tell the difference as to what we’re looking at,” added Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez.
There’s approximately 30 volunteers working to exhume seven bodies here, but experts say there could very well be multiple bodies buried on top of each other.
“Once the remains are processed, they go for analysis and all the personal effects, all the clothing is washed. We photograph those personal objects and we put them into a federal database,” Latham added.
The identification process can take years.
The forensic crew is expected to stay until next week to continue the body recovery efforts.