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Rio Grande Valley agents help solve 17 month old cold case

Release Date: 
October 5, 2016

EDINBURG, Texas — Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the newly created RGV Missing Migrant Initiative (MMI) along with the Evidence Collection Team (ECT) have identified the remains of a man who died over a year ago in Harlingen, Texas.

The remains, more specifically fragments of a hand, were discovered in April 2015 and were in the custody of the Cameron County Forensic Pathologist.  The subject’s identity was unknown until ECT assets were able to make a positive match by photographing the ridge details of the remaining fingerprints.

“Despite all of our extensive efforts, had we known or had this initiative been in operation at that time, it could have saved us months of time,” said Cameron County Forensic Pathologist, Elizabeth Miller, in reference to the collaboration made possible by the RGV Missing Migrant Initiative. “This has happened incredibly fast and what we foresee now is a great relationship for us and the families of missing migrants.” 

Once the identity was discovered, the RGV MMI coordinated with Dr. Miller and the respective Consulate to locate and notify the individual’s family in Mexico.

In its efforts to save lives, the RGV MMI is collaborating with governmental and non-governmental agencies.  “This program will support the reduction of migrant deaths through a humane, proactive and efficient response, and in the worst cases, bring closure to the families of individuals who perish while traversing the treacherous international border,” said Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr.

Each day, hundreds of migrants place their lives in the hands of ruthless smugglers, when this occurs, family members who have lost track of their loved ones should contact the consulate of their country.  If they believe they are in dire need of assistance, they should immediately call 911 and their respective consulate. The RGV MMI can also be contacted at   

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021