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Bankston, John 7-17-87; Comfort, TX - lost in river
Topic Started: Mar 17 2010, 07:55 AM (594 Views)
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Evidence indicates remains are from older person
Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010 2:24 PM CST

Skeletal remains recovered from the banks of the Guadalupe River Sunday will not bring closure to a decades-old tragedy as some had hoped.

“Evidence from the scene indicates the skeletal remains are that of an older person who may have had some type of chest surgery,” Kendall County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Matt King said. “The body was probably there for only a couple of years.”

In the days since the discovery, many have speculated the remains might be those of a teen still missing after a church bus carrying 43 passengers was swamped in a flood July 17, 1987, on the Hermann and Sons crossing near Comfort. The church group from Dallas had been attending the Pot of Gold Baptist Camp near Comfort and the bus was headed home early due to the heavy rains swelling the Guadalupe. Survivors were pulled from the water and rescued from trees. John Bankston, 17, of Dallas, was credited with saving a friend before he disappeared in the water. Recovery efforts spanned weeks. Nine bodies were recovered but no sign of Bankston was found.

King said after an exam by the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office, the remains recovered Sunday will probably be sent to Fort Worth for a forensics anthropology exam at the University of North Texas Health Science Center for Human Identification.

Texas Rangers were called to assist in the initial investigation and recovery efforts after an ATV rider reported finding the remains Sunday. The bones were found approximately 75 feet from the bank of the river and 50 feet off the dirt road that runs underneath the bridge, according to King. The bones were partially buried within a washed out sunken area surrounded in high grass and weeds. The area had a large amount of debris from prior flood activity.

No personal items, clothing or identification were found with the body and investigators don’t know the gender or age the person might have been.

The investigation continues under the direction of Lt. Shad Prichard, King said.
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