More than 18 years after a man was found dead in a field in Garden Oaks, the Harris County medical examiner’s office continues to search for his identity and any relatives he might have had.
The man, who was found Jan. 24, 2004, at 834 W. 34th St., was Hispanic with dark brown or black hair and brown eyes, according to an “unidentified decedent notice” sent to The Leader earlier this month by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. He was 5-foot-5 and 147 pounds and estimated to be between 35-45 years old.
At the time of his death, he was wearing green denim jeans, green and brown hiking boots, a blue long-sleeved shirt with alligator logos and “Florida” written on it and a button-up, uniform shirt with “Jose” and “Weston Lakes” printed on it. He also had small scars above both eyebrows and the upper chin/bottom lip area, and had a white handkerchief and butterfly pendant in his possession.
Michele Arnold, a spokesperson for the county medical examiner, said she recently reached out to the mayor of Weston Lakes, a community in Fort Bend County, to inquire about the man found in Garden Oaks. She said the mayor has pledged to help but did not yet have any leads.
“We want people who are missing someone to not only be in touch with the Texas Center for the Missing, but they should come to our website and look to see if their loved one is there,” Arnold said. “Once we make the (unidentified decedent) flyers, we post them. Hopefully we find out who they are, and then we take them down.”
The aforementioned website, ifs.harriscountytx.gov, includes flyers made for hundreds of deceased people who were received by the medical examiner’s office and unable to be identified. The list of unidentified persons, which includes descriptive information and in some cases photos of them, dates back to 1957.
Once autopsies are conducted and samples are collected, including DNA material, the bodies of the unidentified are sent to one of two cemeteries operated by the county, Arnold said. According to Troy Cummins, deputy assistant director of bereavement and cemetery operations for Harris County Community Services, a total of about 450 unidentified people are buried at the two cemeteries, one in Northeast Houston and the other in Crosby.