FALFURRIAS, Texas (AP) – The state will not pursue criminal charges against a South Texas funeral home that buried unidentified immigrants in trash bags and shopping bags in mass graves.
A Texas Rangers investigation found that Funeraria Del Angel Howard-Williams in Falfurrias did not violate Texas law or overcharge Brooks County for the burials, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported late Tuesday. Falfurrias is about 75 miles from the South Texas border.
Forensic anthropologists discovered the graves at the Sacred Heart Burial Park in early June.
According to the investigative report released last week, funeral home representatives told Lt. Corey Lain they had voiced concerns to the county about the limited cemetery space available for migrant burials dating back to 2005. Lain found that mortuary employees built plywood boxes for burials because the county lacked the funds to provide coffins.
County commissioners found no violations in a June 26 inspection of the mortuary.
"Based on the information presented by the Texas Rangers inquiry, it doesn't appear there's a criminal investigation warranted," said Brooks County District Attorney Carlos Omar Garcia.
State Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg has requested over a thousand records from the county auditor to review the contract.
"I believe you're going to be hard-pressed to find anybody in that county that says they hired Howard-Williams to put people in shopping bags and garbage bags, and I don't think I know anyone in Brooks County that would have contracted for that service," Canales said.
Kimberly Tarleton, a spokeswoman for the owner of the funeral home, Houston-based Service Corp. International, said the company is cooperating with the investigation.