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Report on migrant 0425

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Edited by Richard Walker, Sunday, 9 Aug 2015, 04:27
About 0425

Iraheta Guardado, 37, from Honduras (murder rate 45 x US). Husband killed in cross-fire some years ago, mother supports two young children.

Tired of violence, hoping to send money home, Iraheta decides to emigrate to the USA, to join her sister working in New York. Chooses risk of crossing the border illegally to escape violence and help family.

Crossing 15 June 2012

Group of immigrants enter Texas. Iraheta faints after 75 miles, others press on.

Remains found 13 days later, scattered by predators. Some possessions recovered from vicinity: backpack, toothbrush, Doritos, can insect repellent. No ID. Unidentified body number 0425 buried in nearest town.

Identifying Iraheta

Many immigrants die crossing borders. In the Texan county where this death occurred, over a third of its population live below the poverty line. Authorities don't have the resources to identify all the bodies and many are buried anonymously.

However Lori E. Baker from Baylor University was appalled by this and instigated an effort by forensic anthropologists to help identify the people concerned.

Various different people and agencies were involved in the team. The group exhumed 75 migrants and attempted to identify them.

The story of how they identified 0425 is a triumph of humanity and science. It's an extraordinary detective story as well. It filled me with sadness but hope. It's been on my mind a lot.

If you are logged into the Open University you can download the Scientific American article here. I hope you will. It is very moving.

If you can't access the article there is summary here.

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