Unusual ways of identifying dead bodies at US-Mexico border

About 800 bodies remain unclaimed in Tucson, AZ

Unusual ways of identifying dead bodies at US-Mexico borderThe border dessert. SanDiegoRed Services
The border dessert. SanDiegoRed Services

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Through an investigation from BBC, it revealed the difficult process of identifying the bodies of migrants, who die in the desert of Sonora during their struggle to cross illegally into the United States. Although migration rates have decreased significantly due to the economic situation that the U.S. is currently going through, it is necessary to address the problem that this has been for years and still is today.

In an interview with Robin Reineke, who is part of the team of forensic anthropologists in Pilma County, Arizona, it was said that about 800 bodies remain unclaimed in Tucson.

For the forensic team it's a daunting task to identify bodies, in which even the smallest details of each person are not overlooked. After spending hours and even days in the desert, the bodies become extremely difficult to identify.

Robin Reineke speaks of how they compare the list of missing persons with the bodies that are found, where they look for signs that family members give in the missing persons report. Details such as the type of shirt buttons, shoes and stamps that may be on a portfolio or letter that make it crucial in determining the identity of a person.

The process can take months, but after certain features are matched on a person, they then proceed to track down the family members, who are not allowed to view the body, because it may cause a negative impression that could possibly influence them to deny the identity of the body.

Reineke noticed that most of these people are indigenous, and made call out to government officials to pay attention to the security of the border, not in the physical aspect but rather to question how safe it is and for whom.

The task does not only fall on the United States, but also on all of the countries that these migrants come from.

Brenda.Colon@sandiegored.com

Omar.Martinez@sandiegored.com

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