By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
March 17, 2015
A decapitated body was found in the Laguna Madre Monday afternoon by fishermen who were fishing nearby, according to Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio. The body, which was found nude and also showed signs of being mutilated, was identified as 30-year-old Edinburg resident Franklin Rodriguez Palacios Paz.
“We got called yesterday probably around 6 p.m. … And that was in reference to respond to the Laguna Madre bay just off of South Padre Island in reference to a deceased male subject in the bay after being reported by fishermen that were fishing in the area,” Sheriff Lucio said. “We are currently investigating the circumstances of his death and pending an autopsy,” he said, adding that the death is being treated as a homicide.
South Padre Island Police Chief Randy Smith said the SPI police department, along with help from the fire department, recovered the body from the water. “The body was pulled out of the bay at probably 300 yards out from the shoreline just across Tompkins Channel in the area of Hibiscus Street,” he said. The City of South Padre Island’s jurisdiction ends at Tompkins Channel, he said, which prompted the call to the county sheriff’s office. “We notified the sheriff’s office, took the body to the fire department where we called in specialized units with the fingerprint technology capability to identify the body and then we turned the investigation over to the sheriff’s office,” he said.
“The Border Patrol has the proper equipment to fingerprint somebody and it shows he (Palacios Paz) had been an illegal, or was an illegal. I don’t know if he was or not. … I don’t know the rest of the status on his nationality,” Lucio said in regards to early reports that Palacios Paz was from Mexico.
The Edinburg Police Department is also assisting in the investigation, said Lt. Oscar Treviño of the Edinburg Police Department Investigations Division. “This person was reported as a welfare concern on Thursday, March 12,” he said. “He was reported by his common law wife who reported that they had gotten into an argument the day before, and that he had left the home and has not been seen or heard from since,” Treviño said. He added, “This is where it all began, with this report here, and the sheriff’s office — Cameron County — is the lead with this investigation.” The name of Palacios Paz’s wife was not released.
Offering a comment on the unusual state of the body, Sheriff Lucio said, “It’s not something that’s common around here to begin with. And then again, we don’t really know if it happened here. Did it happen somewhere else? Did they bring the body here? Did they dump it? Did they dump it off a boat? You can speculate all you want but we don’t work on speculation or assumptions, we try to get the facts” he said. “But at the present time we don’t have any more information,” he said.
Officials are still searching for the rest of the remains, said Chief Smith.
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