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New York Academy of Art students at work. (Credit: Courtesy of New York Academy of Art)

The final moments of life for the eight border crossers whose remains were found in the Arizona desert over the last two summers will always be a mystery. What is clear is the cause of death for them, as for many migrants, recorded by the Pima County medical examiner’s office: “Heat stroke, exposure to hot environment.” “Hyperthermia due to exposure to the elements.” “Dehydration, hypotension and hyperthermia due to environmental exposure to heat in desert.” The list goes on.

The desolation of their deaths in this perilous corridor along the border is compounded by another indignity: The identities of these eight men remained unknown. The traditional tools used by medical examiners to identify human remains, including DNA and dental comparisons, had yet to yield any clues.

Now, a last-ditch effort to identify the dead and help bring closure to their families, has moved from the medical examiner’s office in Tucson to a more rarefied setting: a workshop in facial reconstruction at the New York Academy of Art.

Read more.

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