Mass graves with bodies of immigrants uncovered in Texas


SLM
#1
Mass graves with bodies of immigrants uncovered in Texas



The Associated Press
Published Saturday, June 21, 2014 7:21PM EDT
FALFURRIAS, Texas -- Mass graves have been discovered in a South Texas cemetery, and researchers believe they contain the bodies of immigrants who died crossing into the U.S. illegally, according to published reports Saturday.
The discovery at Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias came as part of a multi-year effort to identify immigrants who've died in the area near the U.S.-Mexico border. The remote area is often deadly for immigrants from Mexico and Central America who set out on foot through ranchlands amid sweltering temperatures to avoid a nearby U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint.
Anthropologists Lori Baker and Krista Latham and their students unearthed remains in trash bags, shopping bags, body bags or without a container at all, according to the Corpus Christi Caller Times. In one burial, bones of three bodies were inside one body bag. In another, at least five people in body bags and smaller plastic bags were piled on top of each other.




Skulls also were found in biohazard bags placed between coffins.
Latham called the discovery appalling. Baker said bodies that were not already skeletonized before burial were found in varying states of decomposition.
"To me it's just as shocking as the mass grave that you would picture in your head, and it's just as disrespectful," Latham told the Caller Times.
They exhumed 110 unidentified people from the cemetery in 2013. This summer, researchers have performed 52 exhumations, but because some remains were stored together, further study will be needed to determine exactly how many bodies have been recovered, Baker said.
Researchers told the newspaper that some remains were found under small, temporary grave markers bearing the name of local funeral home Funeraria del Angel Howard-Williams.
Brooks and Jim Hogg county officials said they pay the funeral home to handle bodies recovered in the remote parts of South Texas.
More than 300 people died crossing through Brooks County alone between 2011 and 2013 -- representing more than 50 per cent of the deaths in Texas' sprawling Rio Grande Valley.
Brooks County Chief Deputy Benny Martinez said the funeral home charges $450 to handle each body. County Judge Raul Ramirez said the funeral home had been handling such remains for at least 16 years. Chief Sheriff's Deputy Lorenzo Benavides in neighbouring Jim Hogg County said the practice has been going on there as long as he can remember, at least 22 years.
A message left Saturday at Howard-Williams was not immediately returned. The funeral home referred the newspapers' questions to its parent company, Houston-based Service Corporation International.
"No matter if this is one of our client families we serve on a traditional basis or a migrant family's loved one we're serving and we don't have any identification of the loved one, I do want to let you know it is our policy to treat the decedent with care, to treat them just like we would treat anyone else," Service Corporation International Spokeswoman Jessica McDunn told the newspaper.
McDunn said the funeral home has "certain records related to these burials, but this does not amount to confirmation that Howard-Williams was involved in depositing the remains in the manner the researchers described." The funeral home would not give the newspaper access to those records.


Read more: Mass graves with bodies of immigrants uncovered in Texas | CTV News

I hate it when you hear about funeral homes "cutting corners". Is there anything more skeevy?

$450 per body, I wonder how that compares to the basic cost of a burial though? I mean, does $450 provide for an individual's own burial plot? Because if it does and they're cramming two and three bodies into a bag, they're raking in some cash.

 
gopher
+1
#2  Top Rated Post
ugh - what a gruesome discovery

What is not clear is how these people died and who disposed of their bodies. Was it mass homicides or deaths due to exposure to the elements? Hopefully, this will be investigated and cleared up so that the families of these unfortunates can have closure.
 
SLM
+1
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by gopherView Post

ugh - what a gruesome discovery

What is not clear is how these people died and who disposed of their bodies. Was it mass homicides or deaths due to exposure to the elements? Hopefully, this will be investigated and cleared up so that the families of these unfortunates can have closure.

I took it that they died due to exposure, their deaths were known. What appears to be happening is that the funeral home is lumping them all in mass graves while accepting payment from the state for funerary services. Kind of reminds me of that crematorium in Georgia, I think it was about a decade ago, that buried bodies in mass graves and faking that the services had been done with the families.
 
WLDB
#4
Makes you wonder how bad they had it where they were to risk dying in such horrible ways to get away.
 
gopher
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM;

I took it that they died due to exposure, their deaths were known. What appears to be happening is that the funeral home is lumping them all in mass graves while accepting payment from the state for funerary services. Kind of reminds me of that crematorium in Georgia, I think it was about a decade ago, that buried bodies in mass graves and faking that the services had been done with the families.



They had a big scandal about that in Chicago as well.

Geez, how gruesome.


And yes, you have to wonder how bad these people had it that they were willing to risk it all to cross the border when it is so hazardous.
 
Nuggler
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by gopherView Post

They had a big scandal about that in Chicago as well.

Geez, how gruesome.


And yes, you have to wonder how bad these people had it that they were willing to risk it all to cross the border when it is so hazardous.


Know what you mean, Gopher. People risk it all every day crossing from Que. to Ont.
 
shadowshiv
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

I took it that they died due to exposure, their deaths were known. What appears to be happening is that the funeral home is lumping them all in mass graves while accepting payment from the state for funerary services. Kind of reminds me of that crematorium in Georgia, I think it was about a decade ago, that buried bodies in mass graves and faking that the services had been done with the families.

Exactly. The graves (and causes of death) were known, it's just the method of "burial" that is found wanting. Pretty sad, really.
 
SLM
+1
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshivView Post

Exactly. The graves (and causes of death) were known, it's just the method of "burial" that is found wanting. Pretty sad, really.

Sad and potentially fraudulent. The story isn't really about immigrants, illegal or otherwise, it's about indigent burials paid for by the state. And if they are dumping the bodies 2 and 3 to a burial bag into a mass grave? Very skeevy.
 
shadowshiv
+1
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Sad and potentially fraudulent. The story isn't really about immigrants, illegal or otherwise, it's about indigent burials paid for by the state. And if they are dumping the bodies 2 and 3 to a burial bag into a mass grave? Very skeevy.

And a potential biohazard.
 
SLM
+1
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshivView Post

And a potential biohazard.

Well it is still in the graveyard from what I understand.
 
shadowshiv
+1
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Well it is still in the graveyard from what I understand.

True, but the bodily waste (which, if the actual burial methods are any indication) could seep into the ground and contaminate the area.
 
SLM
+1
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshivView Post

True, but the bodily waste (which, if the actual burial methods are any indication) could seep into the ground and contaminate the area.

Yeah I suppose if the ground are over filled. I don't know much about planning around graveyards, lol. Although it can't be that bad since they have many of them in the middle of cities with developments right beside them.
 
damngrumpy
#13
What a funeral home service that is would you trust family members bodies with people
as shallow as this? Wonder if they take jewellery and things like that just makes you
wonder
 

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