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‘Treated like trash’: the project trying to identify the bodies of migrants

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Immigrant bodies projectSoil is carefully dug and then brushed away and the bags removed from the ground. Inside are bones but also small items that give a touch of humanity and threads of stories where flesh – and names – are missing. A little note. A half-drunk bottle of water. Prayer beads, a soft toy.

These are the items that university experts and students from the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State have found when painstakingly exhuming the bodies of migrants who died on their journeys to the United States and ended up in graves at remote county cemeteries on the US-Mexico border.

“At least these bodies were buried with care,” said the forensic anthropologist Dr Kate Spradley, standing above the unearthed gravesite during a recent exhumation. “That is not always the case.”


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