Remains found in Port Arthur to be sent to morgue to help with identification

Published 12:32 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Human remains found in a submerged vehicle soon will be heading to the Jefferson County morgue.

The remains, which were in a vehicle pulled from a local canal Aug. 9 in Port Arthur, have been at the Jefferson County Regional Crime Lab, Capt. Jesse Fournet said.

If they can’t be identified locally, they will be sent to a lab in North Texas.

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Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said the remains were in a vehicle that matched the description given in 2008 when a Port Neches man was reported missing.

Lemoine noted that, although the vehicle matches the description, there is no confirmation that the remains found are those of the missing man.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Captain Crystal Holmes explained in general terms how the identification process occurs.

If a body has been in the water for quite some time and only bones remain, they are removed by a law enforcement agency and sent to the crime lab for analysis.

If there is a skull and teeth and law enforcement is reasonably sure whom the person is, they can take the remains to a dentist to see if they match. This would require the information on which dentist may have performed any dental work on said person.

But, if the remains are bones, they are normally sent to the University of North Texas for analysis.

However, she said, if the body contains flesh, it is sent to the morgue for autopsy or an attempted autopsy.

“The big thing is, you are trying to determine who the body is and manner of death whether done in the local level or through the University of North Texas or other means,” she said.

Last week divers with the Port Arthur Fire Department were working to locate a missing Port Arthur man in canals along Texas 73 near Memorial Boulevard. During the search, responders located two vehicles.

A vehicle with the reported missing Port Arthur man was located as well as a vehicle that matched the description of the car Adrian Lozoya, 26, was believed to have been driving in 2008, when he was reported missing.