Texas Rangers to make inquiry into migrant graves

FILE - In a Monday, May 20, 2013 file photo, members of the Baylor University forensic team exhume one of several bodies buried at the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias, Texas. The bodies are unclaimed illegal immigrants who died while trying to cross Brooks County. Texas Democratic state Rep. Terry Canales said Sunday, June 22, 2014, that mass graves uncovered at the same location this month in the ongoing project by anthropologists be secured by state police until a criminal investigation can be carried out. State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa said Friday he was calling for a criminal investigation. (AP Photo/Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Todd Yates, File)

AUSTIN (AP) — A South Texas sheriff’s official says the Texas Rangers will conduct a preliminary inquiry into the handling of unidentified bodies that were exhumed by anthropologists at a Falfurrias cemetery earlier this month.

Brooks County Chief Deputy Benny Martinez said Tuesday after meeting with state officials in Austin that the inquiry would be the first step to determine whether a formal investigation is warranted.

Baylor University anthropologist Lori Baker, who also attended the meeting, said she told the gathered officials that her team had exhumed 52 graves at the cemetery, many of which were not marked. Some remains were contained only in body bags or garbage bags.

The haphazardly buried remains are believed to be those of immigrants who perished trying to circumvent a Border Patrol highway checkpoint over the years.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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