Senator Hinojosa Issues Statement on Unidentified Human Remains in Brooks County
This morning, I coordinated a meeting with staff from the Governor's office, the Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers office, Brooks County officials, and Lori Baker, an anthropologist at Baylor University, to discuss the recent concerns regarding the exhumation of unidentified human remains in Falfurrias, Texas.
For the past two years, Dr. Baker, a lead expert in forensic anthropology, has led a group that has exhumed graves in the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias, a Brooks County-owned cemetery, to identify immigrants who died entering the United States. Dr. Baker stated they exhumed 52 bodies this year that were buried prior to 2013. Brooks County officials stated that a local funeral home was paid to transport and bury the unidentified human remains.
During our meeting, Dr. Baker explained that this was not a mass grave but human bodies in the cemetery. However, we discussed the need for the Texas Rangers to conduct an inquiry to find out if there was negligence, criminal wrongdoing or improper burial, a violation of state health law. We also discussed the possibility of future grants from the state to assist Brooks County with the processing of unidentified human remains.
I remain concerned with the manner in which the bodies were buried and will continue working with officials to determine the proper course of action.
Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, a member of the Select Committee on Transportation Funding, Joint-Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources, Criminal Justice, Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security, as well as the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and the Sunset Advisory Commission.