HOCKLEY COUNTY, Texas – COVID-19 is delaying the already long process of identifying remains found in Hockley County last week.
The Hockley County Sheriff’s Office says they can’t send the body to The University of North Texas for testing.
“We’re kind of unfortunately in a holding pattern given the current COVID situation that they’re not taking any, any transfers right now so we’re unfortunately waiting,” Sheriff Ray Scifres said. “There’s no time estimate we just don’t know.”
The department is now doing a little investigating into the property itself, to hopefully find some answers.
“Who owns the property, how long has it been vacant, and when’s the last time somebody resided what’s been going on with that property since then, when was the last time somebody was actually inside that structure, before, before the remainder of town so there’s a lot of stuff in the local level,” Scifres said.
There are two women from Hockley County who have gone missing over the years, Stephanie Meeks Henderson and Maegan Hembree. There are very few leads in both cases.
These remains were so badly decomposed, detectives couldn’t determine if it was a man or woman.
“We got phone calls within minutes of that going public,” Scifres said. “Have you found my relatives and I spoke with a mother who was just hysterical and we had another call on on Sunday, about wanting to know have you found my, my loved one. And we just unfortunately don’t have answers for that right now.”
Henderson was reported missing in 1994.
Hembree was last seen leaving her home in Smyer back in 2013.
Scifres said it could be anyone, he’s even looking at missing cases out of New Mexico.
“With no identifiers we have nothing really to go on,” Scifres said. “We can’t say no to that to the old cases here, but we also can’t say yes we can’t rule out any possibility at this point, until we get to that next step of identification.”
The sheriff’s office is now looking for other ways to identify the body.
“We are still waiting on a few responses here locally to see what our next step can be in the event of a delay at UNT,” Scifres said.
If you have any information on how the remains or know anything about the missing women’s cases please call HSCO at (806) 894-3126.