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'Everybody is somebody': SA funeral home volunteers to give 53 migrants dignified burials

When all the deceased are identified, a local funeral home is offering their services to help bury each migrant in their home country.

SAN ANTONIO — Efforts to identify the 53 migrants who died in San Antonio this week are being complicated by a myriad of factors.

Sharing fingerprint data across borders, the lack of identification and stolen ID's are lengthening an already daunting process.

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The Consul General of the Mexican Consulate of San Antonio says they've been flooded with phone calls. Families in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala are worried their loved one could be among the dead.

As the work continues to identify the migrants, helpers are raising their hands - offering to give them a proper burial in their home country.

"This consulate has received close to 100 phone calls from family members," said Consul General, Rubén Minutti Zanatta in a press conference Wednesday.

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Wednesday, consulate employees were able to get a hospitalized migrant in touch with their mother.

"The Mexican Consulate in San Antonio will continue to contact the families of the victims," said Minutti. "We are working intensely to call family members."

All consulates from the migrants' home countries are working together to identify the victims.

"Our governments have committed to work in a systematic, coordinated manner to work on two elements that are fundamental," said Mario Búcaro, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala. "One, the investigation of justice in this case. Second, the necessary effects for the protection of both the human rights of the victims who survived this massacre and of course the dignified repatriation of each one of our nationals."

The work to identify the migrants likely won't happen quickly, but waiting patiently to help families reunite is Mission Park Funeral Chapels & Cemeteries.

"It happened here in our community and it's important that we do our part," said Kristin Tips, President of Mission Park. "We are volunteering our services to these families and our resources and everything we can do to help. We will work with authorities in all the countries of origin. There's gonna be a lot of detail involved."

Tips says their goal is to coordinate with authorities to help these migrants get a dignified burial.

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"Prepare the remains, casket them and make sure they make it home to their country of origin," she explained. "For us, everybody is somebody."

Tips adds, because of the complexity of this situation, they don't expect the first victim to be released until mid next week at the earliest. As for the migrants who weren't carrying a form of ID, it could take weeks or months to properly identify them.

"This is a tragedy that's moved us all," said Búcaro. "That is why we are here at the highest level, all working in coordination as brothers and sisters to be able to support the government of the United States to verify the truth."

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