Anthropologists Discover Mass Graves of Immigrants in Texas

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Dignity Memorial bag recovered at mass grave site in Brooks County, Texas

The remains of more than a hundred people have been found in Texas mass graves by anthropologists.


Body parts have been dug up in a Brooks County cemetery, located in South Texas, where a local funeral home disposed of the bodies of immigrants who died while crossing the border since 2005.


A team of researchers says they found remains stuffed inside garbage bags, body bags and in some instances nothing at all before their unmarked burials. Skulls were found in red plastic biohazard bags placed between coffins. The haphazard internment included putting multiple bodies in a single bag, making it difficult for anthropologists to determine just how many immigrants were dumped this way.


 “To me it’s just as shocking as the mass grave that you would picture in your head, and it’s just as disrespectful,” Krista Latham, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Indianapolis, told the Corpus Christi Caller Times.


Funeral home Funeraria del Angel Howard-Williams is paid $450 to handle each burial.

It is believed many of the unidentified perished from exposure or dehydration while traveling on foot in the harsh Texas climate. Although Howard-William Funeral Home was once an independent small business, in 1995 it was acquired by Service Corporation International and is now part of the Dignity Memorial network, the largest provider of funerals in the United States.


The anthropological team, which is attempting to identify the victims and return them to their families, exhumed the remains of 110 people last year, and has so far carried out 52 exhumations this year, but this year’s total is unclear because there were more than 52 bodies in those graves.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Mass Graves of Migrants Found in Falfurrias (by Mark Collette, Corpus Christi Caller Times)

South Texas Lawmaker: Immigrants’ Mass Graves Are A Crime (by Mark Collette, Corpus Christi Caller Times)


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