Thousands of immigrants have died trying to cross the southern U.S. border. And of the hundreds of bodies that have been recovered, many remain unidentified, ending up in unmarked graves in small border town cemeteries. But Dr. Lori Baker, a forensic scientist at Baylor University in Texas, is trying to identify some of these remains to match them with families who are looking for lost relatives.She recently sat down for StoryCorps with her husband, Erich Baker, to talk about when she got started. Just a warning — this story contains content that may be upsetting for some listeners.
Lori Baker is an associate professor of anthropology at Baylor University, specializing in molecular and forensic analysis of skeletal remains. She is also the Founder and Executive Director of the International Consortium for Forensic Identification, Reuniting Families Project.
The Reuniting Families Project (RFP) was founded in 2003 by Dr. Lori Baker, and is now a consortium of forensic scientists who recover the remains of unidentified individuals from pauper graves in cemeteries along the U.S. Southern border.
Dr. Erich Baker is an assistant professor in Bioinformatics at Baylor University.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images