Over the last couple weeks, researchers have uncovered mass graves with the bodies of unidentified migrants who died attempting to enter the US in the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Brooks County, Texas. The shocking discovery was part of a volunteer effort to identify migrants who have died of exposure while trying to evade border authorities in the particularly hot and dry region. Just last year remains of 110 migrants were exhumed from mass graves in the same area.
The researchers made 52 exhumations, but multiple bodies were buried in single plots—"buried" being a loosely used term. Bodies of varying degrees of decomposition were placed in coffins, body bags, biohazard bags, and even plastic bags. In one instance, remains from three separate people were found in a single body bag. Forensics anthropologists have estimated the bodies to have been buried between 2005 and 2009.
According to Corpus Christi Caller Times, county officials claim they paid Funeraria del Angel Howard-Williams to "handle the bodies after sheriff's officials recovered them from the brush country." The funeral home charges $450 per body. While there are laws that prohibit mass graves, it is unclear where the responsibility falls: the funeral home or the cemetery.
Jessica McDunn, spokeswoman for Service Corporation International, the parent company of Howard-Williams states that Howard-Williams 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."
Now, Texas state senator Juan Hinojosa is calling for an investigation into the mass graves by the Texas Department of Public Safety, stating "These people deserve a proper investigation and a proper burial."
Image via Getty.