Deaths in South Texas: Nameless Graves, Disappearances, and Lack of Humanitarian Aid

In light of recent reports on the escalating deaths of migrants in South Texas’ brush country, efforts have begun to address the myriad of issues regarding the tragic circumstances. Investigative reporter Mark Collette addressed some of the most pressing problems in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in a special section on Immigration. Some of the newspaper article’s important information is described below.

 The Need for a Central Record Keeping System

Very recently, Brooks County, which has the most reported migrant deaths, implemented a new policy of sending the body remains to the Webb County Medical Examiner in Laredo in charge of performing autopsies. However, other surrounding counties have different ways of handling and processing unidentified corpses. The Border Patrol has been an important source of information for compiling the number of confirmed deaths and approximate locations of where the remains were found.  However, since the remains are found in private lands, Border Patrol officials are unlikely to divulge the exact locations. The following map shows the four ranches in Brooks County where the most deaths occurred within the last couple of years (2011-2013): Laborcitas, Mariposa, Cage, and King.

Ranches

 

Interactive Map of Migrant Deaths

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times collected information on migrant deaths from 2011-2013 and used an interactive map to show the approximate locations of where the remains were found.  The map displays all of the identifiable information, however, many of the remains are simply unknown. In an effort to identify the missing migrants a Baylor University forensic anthropology team has exhumed 55 remains from the cemetery in Brooks county where the corpses were buried. Their efforts will help identify some of the remains, especially the ones that have been reported “missing.” The interactive map can be accessed by clicking on this link or the map below:

InteractiveMap

The Missing or Disappeared

The families or friends of the “missing” or “disappeared” are often unfamiliar with the process for reporting missing persons.  The Corpus Christi Caller-times lists the following contacts where the identifiable information on the missing persons can be registered.

Brooks County Sheriff’s Office:
361-325-3696

Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office:
956-722-7054

Mexican Consulate in Laredo:
956-723-6369

Guatemalan Consulate in Houston:
713-953-9531

Honduran Consulate in Houston:
713-785-5625

Salvadoran Consulate in Houston:
713-270-6239

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System:

http://www.namus.gov

NamUS provides free DNA testing and other forensic services, such as anthropology and odontology assistance. NamUs’ Missing Persons Database and Unidentified Persons Database are now available in Spanish.

The South Texas Human Rights Center has its mission to end death and suffering in South Texas, along the Texas/México border. The Center is staffed by volunteers and operated with charitable donations. The Center accepts charitable donation through this website.

For information, please contact Mr. Canales:

CONTACT: Mr. Eduardo Canales

Cell phone:  361-946-5252

Email address: ecsouthtexashumanrights@gmail.com


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