Beyond Borders: Digging up remains of unidentified immigrants

Immigrants buried without a name

A team of students and forensic anthropologists are digging for answers.

The experience has been surreal, I mean I completely feel like I came into this oblivious, Cheneta Morrison, undergraduate student at University of Indianapolis, said.

They traveled to Brooks County from Indianapolis University and Baylor University to exhume the remains of undocumented immigrants that died trying to walk around the Falfurrias checkpoint.

A trek made to avoid being caught by Border Patrol.

We one of the main corridors from the south to the north, Deputy Chief Benny Martinez, Brooks County Sheriff TMs Office, said.

Brooks County lies 70 miles north of the Rio Grande Valley, the epicenter of illegal immigration.

The county lacks resources to identify everybody they find and those who are found without identification end up in the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias.

Knowing that people are buried as unknown with no identification, it TMs a harsh reality, Morrison said.

Teams dig without knowing where the bodies are buried because most of the graves are unmarked and there are no records of how many undocumented immigrants are buried here.

At the end of their two week expedition the bodies will be sent off for forensic analysis.

This is the second trip for the Beyond Borders project.

A group visited the site last year and exhumed 63 graves, since then only one person has been identified.

The identification process takes a lot longer than what people think, Dr. Krista E. Latham, professor at the University of Indianapolis, said. It TMs not like CSI where it happens in an hour.

The process starts at the graveyard.

The goal is to identify as many people as possible and return their remains to their families.

They died because of their dreams, Dr. Latham said. They TMve been put in the ground without a name and we feel very strongly that their families deserve to mourn them properly.

Their American Dream was never realized.

But through sweat and dedication, who they were, will not be forgotten.

Crews will continue to exhume bodies through Wednesday.

The remains will be taken to several universities to begin the forensic analysis process.

You can view the Beyond Border blog by visiting this website:

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off