Posted: Mar 5, 2013 7:00 PM by Andrew Ellison - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Mar 5, 2013 11:17 PM
BROOKS COUNTY - A couple of weeks ago, an activist group called "The Texas Civil Rights Project", sent Brooks County officials a letter saying the county wasn't doing enough to D.N.A test the bodies of unidentified immigrants found in the county.
129 sets of human remains were found in the county just last year.
So, county officials met to discuss the problem this morning.
Officials from each department wanted to make sure they were all following the right procedures when attending to bodies of unidentified immigrants.
State law requires the county to collect the remains and attempt to identify them, but method like D.N.A testing are optional.
And even without D.N.A testing, county officials say the average cost to take care of a body is $2,000.
"It's very costly because that means I don't fix the roads. I can't provide raises to my employees. I can't provide other services. We have to put them on the back-burner because the law says we must do this," County Judge Raul Ramirez says.
So, Dr. Lori Baker from Baylor University has stepped in to help.
She heads a program that uses state of the art forensic methods to identify remains.
Dr. Baker collects the remains from the county and analyzes them at the university. The data is stored so that she can attempt to track down the families of the deceased.
She says it's always a challenge to track down families in other countries, but giving them a marked grave to go to makes all the difference.
"Every mother I talk to says now I have a place to go and pray," Baker says.
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