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A forensic anthropology team unearths the remains of unidentified immigrants from a cemetery on May 21, 2013 in Falfurrias, Texas. Teams from Baylor University and the University of Indianapolis are exhuming the bodies of more than 50 immigrants who died, mostly from heat exhaustion, while crossing illegally from Mexico into the United States. The bodies will be examined and cross checked with DNA sent from Mexico and Central American countries, with the goal of reuniting the remains with families. In Brooks County alone, at least 129 immigrants perished in 2012, the highest rate in the United States, according to forensic anthropologists. / Brett Deering Getty Images

The task was hard enough, even without complications: Forensic anthropologists were trying to identify the remains of migrants who perished in remote South Texas while trying to cross from Mexico into the U.S. Many of those remains ended up in a cemetery in Falfurrias, and when the volunteers made 52 exhumations, they expected to find 52 corpses.

Instead, as the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports, they found many more-but they can't say for sure given the state of burial. They discovered remains jammed into trash bags, shopping bags, and body bags; bones from multiple bodies inside the same bags; and some remains without any containers whatsoever. In short, it looked more like a dump than a cemetery, they say.

"To me it's just as shocking as the mass grave that you would picture in your head, and it's just as disrespectful," says one of the anthropologists, from the University of Indianapolis.

The remains are in a Brooks County cemetery, and the county pays the Funeraria del Angel Howard-Williams funeral home $450 per body to handle burials. The funeral home has "certain records related to these burials, but this does not amount to confirmation that Howard-Williams was involved in depositing the remains in the manner the researchers described," says a spokesperson.

Vocativ picks up on this aspect of the story: Complaints about improper burials often originate from the families of the deceased, "an issue when it comes to unidentified migrants, whose families have no way of knowing where they ended up."

(Brooks County has seen a big increase in illegal immigrants trying to cross the border in recent years.)

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Read the original story: Mass graves of migrants found in Texas cemetery

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