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Keep Houston Press Free
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Harris County Seeking Relatives for Unclaimed Bodies

In the Fox show Bones, unreasonably attractive forensic experts spend countless hours identifying murder victims in a high-tech facility for the FBI. Harris County may not boast the kind of facilities or model-like attractiveness (though they may have a hot lab tech lurking somewhere over there) the show Bones does, but they do appear to be persistent in locating the families of those who have died in the county, some from foul play, but others due to accidents and natural causes.

According to a report from KPRC channel 2, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has buried 350 bodies in the county cemetery since 1957. In 2012, of the 4,000 bodies brought to their facility, 99 percent were identified and returned to family. Still, 59 others have been left unclaimed thus far.

It's a strange and disheartening issue to consider given the fact that many in our society hope to build a legacy for when we are gone. Many buried in the county cemetery weren't even allowed the dignity of keeping their names.

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One particularly gruesome portion of the story described the unidentified remains of a teenage girl found in a trash bag in October.

On Oct. 16, 2012, in north Harris County, stuffed inside a trash bag were the partially skeletonized remains of what turned out to be a young female, estimated to be between the ages of 15 and 17. How she died is a mystery and so far science has also failed to link her to her family. She was 5 feet 3 inches tall and died wearing a Smurfs shirt and a pair cargo pants.

Here's hoping the non-actor scientists who work for Harris County are able to find her home.

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