Advocates pushing for more resources in identifying migrant bodies

10 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, October 27 2022 Oct 27, 2022 October 27, 2022 1:35 PM October 27, 2022 in News - Local

When it comes to identifying the remains of dead migrants in Texas, advocates for more resources say priorities are misplaced.

Kate Spradley, a forensic anthropologist with Texas State University, said authorities aren't taking steps to record info of unidentified remains — making her job even harder.

“There's no information on the body bags,” Spradley said. “So even if we find the body bag, there's no contextual information. When they died, whose jurisdiction they were in, nothing. So all that information is lost."

Spradley said records aren't being kept in one place.

"We go into counties, and we ask, ‘Do you get unidentified remains? What do you do with them? Where are they buried?’ They're often administratively lost in the cemeteries."

As Texas sees more migrant crossings and deaths than ever before, Spradley said she still struggles with several counties and officials sending her data to connect dead migrants with their families.

A new effort at Texas State University hopes to change that by collecting12 years’ worth of data from migrant deaths across all border states.

For now, advocates will continue pushing for officials to cooperate with what they're doing during an even more difficult time.

“This is a record number year for migrant deaths,” Spradley said. “I'm really worried that there's going to be so many people who just get lost, and families will never have an answer."

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