Man arrested in probe of human remains

RAYMONDVILLE — A Brownsville man faces a murder charge in connection with the investigation into human remains found last week in a remote Willacy County area.

Texas Rangers have arrested Juan Carlos Baez Escobedo, 27, who was booked into the Willacy County Jail. Meanwhile, authorities are still not confirming whether the remains found buried near Santa Monica are those of William “Bill” Costello, 71, a retired Roman Catholic priest

who went missing from South Padre Island earlier this month.

“The case is still under investigation,” Lt. Johnny Hernandez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, stated yesterday.

Earlier this week, Maj. Ernie Garcia of the Willacy County Sheriff’s Department said authorities were investigating “multiple suspects.”

Authorities have declined to release results of a preliminary autopsy that was completed Monday.

On Aug. 1, Costello, who served as a priest

in Massachusetts before coming to Texas more than three years ago, was last seen at the Tiki Condominiums on South Padre Island. Last Friday, Willacy County sheriff’s deputies were led to human remains buried in a remote area between two levees about three miles east of Santa Monica.

In Fall River, Mass., the Catholic Diocese stated the remains found near Santa Monica were those of Costello. “The circumstances of the matter are disturbing,” the diocese stated.