A report released Saturday revealed the discovery of unidentified mass graves in a South Texas cemetery, containing the remains of migrants who died crossing the US-Mexico border. The report includes the results of an ongoing anthropological investigation by researchers from Baylor University and the University of Indianapolis. It states that in 2014 alone, 52 unidentified bodies have been exhumed, adding to the 110 found in 2013.
The remains, in various stages of decomposition, are located at the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. Immigrants passing through this region to avoid US Border Patrol checkpoints often face deadly conditions. Forensic anthropologist Krista Latham called the mass graves “appalling.” Bodies were found under small temporary grave markers, and some of the remains were stored together, making it difficult for researchers to determine the exact number.
According to Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Lorenzo Benavides of Jim Hogg County, the practice of depositing bodies in mass graves has been going on for at least 22 years. The 52 bodies exhumed thus far this year add to the list of at least 300 deaths that occurred between 2011 and 2013 in Brooks County alone.