Exhuming Immigrant Remains: Reuniting Families Program

Baylor anthropologist Dr. Lori Baker, who was featured on the National Geographic Channel series, The Decrypters, took 18 students to a Texas border town to help identify those that died while crossing the Mexico-Texas border last summer. In May, Dr. Baker will return to the border to continue exhuming remains in an effort to identify the unknown.

Baker, who was instrumental in developing a missing person's database with Mexico, works on behalf of her program called "Reuniting Families." She, along with her team, exhumes bodies at pauper's cemeteries and conducts DNA tests in an effort to identify the unknown. Currently, this is the only field school of its kind where students are able to work on identifying the undocumented population that died while crossing the border to repatriate their remains to their families in Mexico.

Related News Releases and Media Coverage

Baylor professor Dr. Lori Baker, students identifying immigrants' bodies along Texas-Mexico border

WACO, Texas (Nov. 11, 2012) --Lori Baker, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor, was joined by 18 Baylor students at a cemetery in Del Rio, where they exhumed six human remains buried in unmarked graves and hope to identify them. San Antonio KSAT-TV's Jessie Degollado reported on their project.

Baylor University Using DNA to Identify Deceased Along Texas-Mexico Border

Lori Baker 2

WACO, Texas (June 18, 2012) --In the small Texas town of Del Rio, about five miles from the Mexican border, lies Westlawn Cemetery, a place where the poor and lost are buried in unmarked graves, their identities unknown. A group of Baylor University professors and students hope to give those buried there a name and return them to their loved ones.

New Collaboration Between Baylor and Mexican Government to Identify Immigrants' Remains to Be Discussed at News Conference
Lori Baker 4

WACO, Texas (Nov. 14, 2005)- Baylor University representatives and officials from the Mexican government will hold a news conference to discuss their collaboration on a new program instituted by the Mexican government to identify the remains of immigrants who died crossing the border. The news conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in room A207 at the Baylor Sciences Building. A reception will follow in room A301.


Reuniting Families database project uses forensic science to reunite Mexican families with remains of deceased relatives

WACO, Texas (Dec. 4, 2003)- 2003 NPR segment with Baylor anthropologist Dr. Lori Baker.

Related Links

Lori E. Baker, Ph.D.

Jim Huggins

November 15, 2005 Press Conference: Marco Antonio Fraire and Dr. Lori Baker

Contact Information

For more information or to set up interviews related to the border field school or the Reuniting Families Program, contact Tonya B. Lewis, (254) 710-4656, or the Office of Media Communications at (254) 710-1961.