Costs Increase as Number of Bodies Found Rises in Brooks Co.

Related Story

FALFURRIAS – New Brooks County numbers show bodies recovered on ranch lands continue to rise.

The cost to recover remains puts a strain on the county.

The Brooks County Sherriff’s Office records all the bodies they recover. Large stacks of binders with pictures, a report and age are in them. They are the people who tried to make it out the vast emptiness of Brooks County.

They are often led by smugglers and those who can’t make it all the way are left to die.

"I'm tired of seeing the way these organizations treat people. The way they treat the people is inhumane,” said Brooks County Sheriff’s deputy commander Jorge Esparza.

Brooks County Sheriff's Deputy Commander, Jorge Esparza has worked in this dessert for about seven years.

Esparza sometimes captures that final glimpse of the remains of what was life. 

"These organizations are just in it for a buck; unfortunately. And some of these at one point has to pay the price and some of these have paid the price with their lives,” said Esparza.

A special report in May, CHANNEL 5 NEWS showed that Brooks County Sheriff's Office recovered 19 bodies. This includes human and skeletal remains.

Now, new numbers show they have recovered 32 bodies. This is 13 more in the last two months.

Esparza said these bodies’ recoveries are costly for the county too.

"Per body with autopsies you're looking at about $1,500 a body. So, $1,500 at 32 you're looking at about $48,000 right now,” said Esparza.

The numbers are lower than last year. Esparza said there could be a spike during these summer months. Brooks County is not considered a border county.

They don't get federal funds. The county gets help from other counties, grants and organizations formed by private property owners.

Border Volunteers, organized by Doctor Mike Vickers. Volunteers go to known smuggling trails every month.

"We go out and watch these trails and we see the smugglers bringing their human trafficking through or the drug traffickers we report it to the border patrol,” said Vickers.

Vickers explained the traffic is down.

"However, the body count is up from this time last year but a lot of the remains were from probably last year,” said Vickers.

Vickers said agents need more resources.  The border is not secure for ranch lands and the entire community.

"Some of the people coming through are bad guys. A lot of them that are coming into the country are gang members. M-S 13 and other gangs and that's a big concern,” said Vickers.

Vickers and Esparza want to keep their lands safe. They want to keep this year's binder from stacking up.


7 Days