Body exhumed in Bastrop Co. 39 years after mysterious burial

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BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — On Wednesday June 19, authorities in Bastrop entered a 39-year-old grave in Elgin to collect DNA evidence and determine the identity of the body.

According to Bastrop County District Attorney Bryan Goertz, it is believed that the body is that of a woman about 20-24 years old. When her body was found off Texas 95 between Bastrop and Elgin, there was no soft tissue left on the body.

Goertz says the only thing that could be determined is that she had a broken pelvic bone, an injury that could be consistent with a car accident or horse riding.

The effort to identify the woman began when one researcher began looking into the grave to determine whether or not the body was related to Texas serial killer Henry Lee Lucas — even though Goertz says that question is not what the exhumation is aimed at finding. He says it’s just to figure out her identity.

According to Goertz, the researcher looking into Lucas contacted the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office to track down anyone who may have been linked to Lucas. He says that as he understands it, when Lucas was arrested he told law enforcement about several bodies and missing persons he knew of.

While the quest to find the woman’s identity is not motivated by finding her killer, the question remained on Bastrop County officials’ minds — who is she?

On Wednesday, a group of several people — including a doctor from the University of North Texas — officials from the Bastrop County DA’s and Sheriff’s offices, went to perform the exhumation.

The University of North Texas doctor says the DNA material that was pulled was good and that the skeletal remains were surprisingly intact, which allowed for a good sample.

The DA’s office and the BCSO hope to get the woman’s DNA evidence into a database for missing persons to find someone who will be genetically linked to her. Officials hope there will be a relative who can lead them to her identity and hopefully, ultimately to her cause of death.

After taking the DNA, the body was put back in the anonymous grave where it’s been for 39 years. Now there is hope that perhaps soon there will be an answer to what happened to her.

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