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Timothy Gocha

Published: Timothy Gocha

Dec 13, 2017
Timothy P. Gocha

Timothy P. Gocha (Anthropology), along with co-authors Kate Spradley and Ryan Strand of Texas State University, recently published a book chapter on their work trying to identify presumed migrants who have lost their lives crossing the U.S./Mexico border. 

The chapter, "Bodies in Limbo," traces the movement of deceased migrants in South Texas through the system of identification and repatriation. Given significant differences in funding, resources, labor power, institutional support, and time, the timing and movement of bodies through the various medicolegal process are highly variable. In many ways, the fragmentation and differential support for volunteer forensic scientists have produced particular systems-level nodes where bodies may wait “in limbo” for years. The chapter considers constraints faced by forensic scientists and the systemic implications of those individual constraints, as well as addresses the steps anthropologists are taking to improve identification efforts. The chapter is from a recently published edited volume, Sociopolitics of Migrant Death and Repatriation, part of the Bioarchaeology and Social Theory series from Springer publishers where Lincy Professor of Anthropology Debra Martin is the series editor.