Case 0435 died more than a mile from the nearest road, with an unscuffed MacGregor baseball in his backpack.Case 0469 was found with a bracelet, a simple green ribbon tied in a knot.Case 0519 carried Psalms and Revelation, torn from a Spanish Bible.Case 0377 kept a single grain of rice inside a hollow cross. One side of the grain read Sara, and the other read Rigo.The belongings are part of a border-crossers’ morgue at a Texas State University lab here — an inventoried collection of more than 2,000 objects and 212 bodies, the vast majority unidentified.All 212 were undocumented immigrants who died in Texas trying to evade Border Patrol checkpoints by walking across the rugged terrain.Most died from dehydration, heatstroke or hypothermia.Even as the number of people caught trying to illegally enter the United States from Mexico has dropped in recent months, the bodies remain a constant, grim backdrop to the national debate over immigration.“When we get them, we assign them a case number because we have to have a way of tracking cases, but no one deserves to be just a number,” said Timothy P. Gocha, a forensic anthropologist with Operation Identification, a project at Texas State University’s Forensic Anthropology Center that analyzes the remains and personal items of the immigrants to help identify them.“The idea is to figure out who they are, and give them their name back.”
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