Webb County Medical Examiner deals with continuous migrant deaths

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - The number of illegal border crossings continues to increase across south Texas and Webb County is no exception.

Since not all border counties have a medical examiner’s office, the Webb County Medical Examiner Dr. Corinne Stern handles the extra load, receiving bodies from nine different counties.

Officials say their amount of work has been on a steady increase since April.

“We’re seeing deceased from many more countries than we saw before. This year we’re seeing many from Venezuela, from Colombia, and many more Cubans. We get one or two Cubans a year, but now many more because they just can’t come up to the border and claim amnesty. We’re getting a lot from Nicaragua, from Haiti”, said Dr. Stern.

The Webb County Examiner’s Office says the number of deaths along the border continues to increase and with that comes the unidentified Jane and John Doe.

While Laredo is still not in need of a mass burial site like other cities in Texas have had to resort to, Dr. Stern says that may change soon.

“This is not going to slow down. It’s still very hot outside. We’re doing recoveries just in Webb County almost every day”, said Stern.

And while the county and city cemetery seems to have numbers under control for now.

The medical examiner’s office has plenty of work.

“We are at capacity. We are asking the counties before they send us crossers to call us to see if we have room. If we don’t have room, we’re asking them to hold those individuals in their funeral homes, and then we’ll call them when we get a space”, said Dr. Stern.

They exhaust all their resources to try and repatriate the bodies they receive.

Doctor Stern says sometimes they do not have IDs, but they have a phone number, so they sit and call who they can.

“We can internationally call from this office, we’ll call those telephone numbers and I’ll simply just introduce myself and ask them, do you have a family member or friend who was trying to cross the border”, said Dr. Stern.

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