What Do You Do If You Dig Up Human Bones in Your Backyard in Texas?
You might think this could never happen to you. Sadly, there are thousands of old cemeteries scattered across the United States that are forgotten. On top of that, there are forgotten Native American burial grounds all over West Texas.
In fact, in centuries past, the customs and practices of burying bodies was much different than it is today. Often, children died in infancy or very young. Many times, families would bury the small bodies in the backyard. If there was ever a stone, many of them were discarded by later property owners, or just deteriorated until they could no longer be properly identified.
Regardless, if you find human remains in Texas stop whatever you're doing and call the authorities. This seems to make perfect sense, but not everyone does it. There is always the idea that finding bones in your yard might mean investigators will come in and start excavating all over the place.
That is not always true. Often the County Coroner will determine that the bones are "non-forensic" meaning they are older than any possible possible police action or historic. In cases like this the Department of Archaeology or Historic Preservation will take jurisdiction on non -Federal or Non-Tribal land.
Usually the State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation will attempt to make determinations about the age and exact cause of death of the remains. They will also try to determine if they are Native American or not.
Probably, the worst case scenario is if the bones found in your yard are recent enough that they need to be researched as an active crime scene. In which case, you may have to deal with police tape, and numerous law enforcement agencies may have to access your property to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of the individual found.
Usually, after a short time, things will get back to normal in your backyard or wherever you found the bones. However, you might not ever see your property the same way again. No doubt, it would be unsettling. People who believe in the paranormal might begin to feel that there is ghostly activity around.
To soothe everyone in the household, I would recommend inviting a clergyman of your choice to the property to say a few words on behalf of the person found and pray that they find peace. No matter who the person was in life, surely they would appreciate the gesture.