OLIMITO — As of yesterday it remained unclear whether human remains found near a canal on Thursday were those of a male or female.
One thing is obvious — the remains have been there for months.
Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said the bones were sent to a pathologist, and he was waiting for the examiner’s report.
On Thursday, investigators were called to a canal on Centerline Road and FM 106 east of Rio Hondo after a rancher spotted a skull and bones.
County investigators arrived on the scene around 6 p.m. and stayed until 1 a.m. yesterday gathering the bones they could find along the canal and even in the water.
Lucio said at the present time there are only two or three active missing persons cases in Cameron County.
The case currently is an active homicide investigation and investigators are working to collect as much evidence and information as possible.
“It’s an isolated area where we found those bones,” Lucio said.
While the department doesn’t know who the remains are, they are asking that anyone with information to come forward.
The site where the remains were found is beyond the paved section of the road, about 300 to 400 yards along a gravel road which runs along the canal.
The narrow canal is 12 to 14 feet deep, with 3 to 4 feet of dark stagnant water at the bottom.
Brownsville Fire Department’s Dive team assisted in locating human remains.
Yesterday morning investigators found more bones.
“They were able to dig up bones also from the bottom of the canal,” Lucio said.
As of yesterday afternoon, Lucio said the remains were those of only one body.
“It is unclear whether there is one set of human remains in the canal, or if remains are of multiple victims that have been discovered,” Lucio said.
More than a dozen Cameron County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Texas Rangers were assigned the gruesome work of digging and raking the muddy bottom of the canal.
Lucio said the bones that were found may have been dredged out of the canal and piled up along the side of the road and eventually blown out of the dirt with the wind over time before they were found.
Lucio said finding the remains is unfortunate, but his department is doing everything it can to come up with an identity of the person, and find out why the bones may have been left there.
“We have a team of very good investigators that have investigated similar cases in the past,” Lucio said.
He said the Harlingen Police Department, District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers were all at the scene collecting as much evidence as possible.
“At this point we don’t have any identification on the remains that were found and we are continuing the investigation along with the other law enforcement agencies,” Lucio said.