No More Bodies Found in El Paso Desert Search
EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ More than 300 volunteers searched a stretch of desert Saturday where the bodies of six young women have been found buried in shallow graves since September.
The search - which officials may try to repeat next weekend - did not turn up any more bodies in the area, about 18 miles northeast of El Paso.
Volunteers carrying shovels and pitchforks included soldiers, jail guards, police officers, sheriff’s deputies and reserves, fire marshals, chaplains and an El Paso city councilman.
Deputy Police Chief Gus Massey said although no bodies were found, ″We may go back and do it over and over again.″
Saturday’s desert scouring was prompted by the discovery of the sixth set of skeletal remains by aluminum can collectors March 14, about two months after authorities had halted searches.
All of the remains have been of young women, and police believe that three missing young women may also be victims of what they have labeled a serial killing.
″I’m sure it’s a comfort to them (the families of the missing) to know we’re making an extra effort,″ Officer George Salas said as he took a break from digging to rest in the shade of a National Guard truck.
The trucks and three school buses on loan from the El Paso school district transported the workers to the dig site from the National Guard Armory, where they met for a 6:45 a.m. briefing.
Searchers divided into 10 teams and covered specific areas of the desert.
El Paso County sheriff’s deputy Jack Waite said searchers took into consideration that the bodies have been found in shallow graves within 30 feet from dirt trails.
″We spread out a few feet apart and we just followed the roadways,″ he said.
Lt. J.R. Grijalva said the search has not assured officials that there are no more bodies in the desert. He said authorities will determine later this week whether they will search again next weekend.