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Body found near Garcitas Creek

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Aug. 15, 2012 at 3:15 a.m.
Updated Aug. 16, 2012 at 3:16 a.m.

Victoria Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor stands at the scene where a deceased man, suspected to be an illegal immigrant, was found Wednesday morning near Inez. O'Connor said the reasons for the recent increase in the frequency of similar incidents are unclear.

INEZ - A body, suspected to be an illegal immigrant, was found Wednesday propped against a utility pole along Old Highway Road near Garcitas Creek bridge.

The man was discovered about 8 a.m. by residents of the Garcitas Creek area who initially determined the man was dead and called 911, Victoria Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor said.

The body was propped up in a sitting position and slouched over against the pole, indicating that he may have been intentionally positioned there, the sheriff said.

"It looks like this person was deceased and they dumped him" from the vehicle, said O'Connor, who suspects the man was in the process of being smuggled illegally through the state.

The man, who appears to be in his mid-to-late 20s, was fully clothed and had a few American dollars in his pocket. He did not have any identification.

"I think he was being smuggled at this time; he was being transported. I would be surprised if he'd been employed or been (in Texas) for a period of time. I think he was in transit to wherever his destination was," O'Connor said.

An unusual amount of sand was found on and around the man. O'Connor has requested a sand sample be analyzed by soil experts at Texas A&M University to determine whether the sand was beach sand, or ranch sand native to South Texas.

"It's just a shot in the dark, but we try to get as much information as possible to identify these people," he said.

O'Connor said he was working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify the man using fingerprinting, DNA and other forms of biometrics to identify him by name and country of origin. The information also is used to possibly track down others involved in the smuggling.

"We're after the traffickers because of the inhumane treatment of these people," O'Connor said. "If we don't identify this person, we're going to bury him in a pauper's grave here in Telferner. And this will be the fourth one since 2005."

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Stuart Posey performed an inquest at the scene. The man's body was picked up by Sunset Mortuary Services. He will be taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.



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