Update: Information about specific bayou locations was added.
When Texas EquuSearch was called to help find a missing woman, they weren't expecting to find the Valley of Lost Vehicles underneath the murky depths of the city's bayous. And neither was the Houston Police Department, which had asked the search organization for help.
Tim Miller, the founder of Texas EquuSearch, told Hair Balls that he didn't want to disparage HPD when he broke the news this week to media that the police had asked him to keep quiet about the find, according to the Houston Chronicle and other media.
Now, Miller says the organization wants to raise funds to clear the bottom of the bayou of all those vehicles. "This project is in the best interest of everybody involved," Miller said. "I think there's a high percentage chance of a body or two in these vehicles."
According to Miller, his organization has coordinated similar search operations in 38 states and eight countries. Although he says the firm can do the work for pennies on the dollar, it still needs the funding to help search for and remove the more than 100 vehicles it has found using sonar.
"We've had some good response from rental companies that are willing to donate for equipment, and some wrecking companies," he told us.
And he also has another message: that criminals need to find another hiding place for vehicles. "I think that we know that 90-plus percent of these vehicles are stolen vehicles used in a crime," he says.
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A blog post on the organization's website says dozens of vehicles have been found after an initial search.
With only small portions, of two major bayous checked, Texas EquuSearch located 125 vehicles lying in the mud and collecting silt in Sims and Braes Bayous.
Still, it's not an attack on the city, Miller maintains it's a safety and environmental issue. He's hoping that if he gets what he needs to clear the vehicles, HPD can come in and patrol and maintain the waters.
"We're not out here slamming the city. I think we can offer a solution to a problem."