Child's Bones Discovered Along Cotton Belt Corridor

Neighbors in the historic Douglass community say the remains may have been buried there for decades

Crews working on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Cotton Belt Corridor made a startling discovery in East Plano. They found human bones in the historic Douglass community.

Neighbors say there are numerous remains in the area.

The Cotton Belt Corridor will eventually connect Plano to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

A disturbed patch of dirt marks the spot where the bones were discovered. Neighbors believe they were buried there decades, perhaps more than a century ago, by a family who couldn't afford a grave site.

Betty J. Henderson has lived in the Douglass neighborhood for 84 years. She says she would often see new plots appear. The small metal markers she says were left beside them have disappeared over time.

Henderson's family members are buried in L.A. Davis cemetery adjacent to the railroad tracks. The bones were discovered outside the cemetery's fence.

"I just hope they don't fool with it anymore. I hope and pray that they don't bother the cemetery any way," Henderson said.

Dollie Thomas was raised in the Douglass community and says it's common knowledge among neighbors that people were buried along the railroad tracks.

She says she warned DART at a community meeting earlier this year.

"I don't know if they wanted to see for themselves. I just don't know," Thomas said.

Police say it appeared the remains were of a small child because socks were discovered still intact.

"Those are people, and they demanded a little respect and they demanded a little acknowledgment," Thomas said.

"For all we know this could be one of our family members. So we have to make sure they do the right thing by this family," said David Evans, vice president of the Douglass Community Neighborhood Association.

A spokesperson for DART tells NBC 5, "While conducting archaeological investigations along the Cotton Belt in Plano, the archaeologist discovered an interment about 35 to 40 feet from the rail line. The survey team stopped work and the archaeologist made notifications to the Plano Police Department and the Collin County Medical Examiner. The ME took the remains and will store them until they can be re-interred at a later date. DART is currently confirming the ROW boundaries in the area and what was understood when DART purchased the RR Corridor years ago."

The spokesperson said, "DART has amended the Cotton Belt Corridor Plans in the vicinity of the Davis Cemetery in Plano. These current plans DO NOT require any modification to the existing rail lines in the area and no further work will be conducted in or adjacent to the railroad corridor as part of the Cotton Belt Regional Rail Project."

A meeting is being planned between members of the Douglass community, the city of Plano and DART.

The spokesperson says DART staff have also contacted the Collin County Medical Examiner's Office to determine what the next steps are for re-internment of the remains.

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