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Ceremony Gives Closure to Bones Case

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Posted: Feb 25, 2013 7:06 PM

Updated: Feb 25, 2013 8:02 PM

PHARR - A Lipan Apache ritual on Monday gave closure for a young girl buried hundreds of years ago.

Lipan Apache leaders held the ritual at a construction site in Pharr where workers discovered an indigenous girl's bones.

Pharr police sent the bones to a laboratory at the University of North Texas where it was determined that the bones likely belonged to a person native to the region and could up to 600 years old. The bones were discovered on Feb. 11 west of Ridge Road.

Pharr police officials consulted with the Texas Historical Commission for guidance in how to handle the archeological find. The bones were reburied on Tuesday with the assistance of the construction company that discovered them.

"This was really important, because this young girl needed to be put back and continue her journey the way it was when she was first put into the ground," Betty Russell said. She is a member of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.

Nearby neighbors, like Floy Diller, 90, watched as the ceremony unfolded.

Historians and investigators never were able to determine the girl's tribe.

"The deterioration of the bones told them a lot about how many years and whether it was male or female," Lipan Apache Tribal Leader Robert Soto said.

The tribe stepped in to give the child a proper reburial.

"We're sad, but we're happy that this was accomplished in a good way," Russell said.

The contractor and the owner of the retirement center being built at the site plan to mark the grave with a tree and a plaque.

Topics: lipan apache, robert soto, floy diller, betty russell

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