Brooks Co. Sheriffs See Rise in Body Recoveries from Ranch Lands
FALFURRIAS – The Brooks County Sheriff’s Office is working overtime. Thousands of state’s dollars are being spent to prevent and recover people who died crossing the border illegally.
The Rio Grande River, the border fence and a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint are barriers many who cross the border illegally make it past.
The scene changes 80 miles north to Brooks County, some journeys end in death.
“The first one was up against like a fence just kind of laid on his side and he died like that. And the second one was kind of like sand like this and he was faced down. It kind of looked like he jumped the fence and his body gave out and he just fell and the third one was in the bushy area underneath the tree,” said Brooks County Sheriff’s Deputy Bianca Mora.
Mora saw the three people on Tuesday. She started recovery bodies earlier this year. This is her first law enforcement job.
"My first night I was very nervous, the first day by myself. You just start to get into the routine and just go with it,” said Mora.
Mora is from Brooks County and knows the area.
"You learn how to control yourself and how to present yourself in a way where you have the big tall guys that look down on you, but they can't always do that. You still have to put up that front, like you’re not afraid and just do the job,” said Mora.
Mora explained body bags are used only once.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported on how the cold weather plays a part in these deaths. Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez said eight bodies were found in the past five to six days.
Martinez said the weather is only one contributing factor. The number of people trying to pass through Brooks County is growing again.
"The drop-offs are picking up. So we need to be out there a little bit,” said Martinez.
The State of Texas sends thousands of dollars to recover remains from Brooks County ranch lands.
"They've been providing, I think, an approximate number probably over $400,000 already,” said Martinez.
Martinez said those funds are used for the gloves, booties and body bags Mora uses.
When asked where the department would be without the funds, Martinez replied, “Well, we'll definitely be hurting it’s quite costly. You're running about $1,750 I think per autopsy if it's a full body.”
Martinez expects the number of recoveries to continue mounting.
When asked if she believed people were currently struggling to journey through the ranch land, Mora replied, "Yeah, I’m pretty sure there are. It's nonstop."
Mora will continue to do her part past the Rio Grande, border fence and checkpoint.
Martinez said last year they recovered 60 bodies. So far this year, they have recovered 51.
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