Additional information is emerging concerning a deceased, apparently homeless person or vagrant whose remains were found rotting in a Dallas creek in September.
As The Dallas Express reported at the time, Randy Griffin, a landscaping contractor, claimed to have discovered the body while working nearby. Griffin said he smelled something akin to “a dead fish” and found the body while investigating the smell.
The Dallas Express now knows that the corpse that Griffin stumbled upon was that of a woman, as announced by the Dallas Police Department.
Melinda Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for the DPD, told The Dallas Express that the incident is currently being investigated as an unexplained death.
Gutierrez also said that it might take a while — perhaps weeks — to identify the body and notify the next of kin due to its advanced state of decomposition.
The Dallas Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that identifying bodies with advanced decomposition takes time.
The still unidentified woman was found underneath a bridge in the 10500 block of Shady Trail.
Griffin told The Dallas Express that, at first, he believed the person was sleeping inside the drainage ditch.
“There was a tent in that thing,” Griffin said.
“But when I drive by, I drive by here all the time. I look down there, and there’s usually not anybody camping directly in the water,” Griffin said. “What it looked like was that he or she was tangled up in that thing.”
The Dallas Express recently traveled to the site where Griffin found the body.
The site where the body had been retrieved was still littered with debris. Along both sides of the creek were tents set up within the thick brush behind the buildings. There were even infant products located near the tents.
The creek base where the body was found was filled with trash ranging from a box fan, a tire, and industrial waste, along with much more debris in the water.
The Office of Homeless Solutions spent about $12 million of taxpayer money last year and is budgeted for $15 million in the current fiscal year.
Despite these significant expenses, consistent data from polling conducted by The Dallas Express suggest that Dallas residents continue to view homelessness, vagrancy, and panhandling as “serious problems” in the city.
Mayor Eric Johnson announced a new task force last month to address the crisis, as The Dallas Express reported at the time.
Further polling conducted by The Dallas Express suggests that Dallas residents favor a one-stop homeless and vagrant service center like that currently found in San Antonio, where Haven for Hope offers services for homeless or vagrant individuals and families in a single geographic location.
The still unidentified body was found in District 6, represented by Council Member Omar Narvaez. The Dallas Express reached out to Narvaez to ask what he is doing to address the crisis on the streets of his district but did not receive a response by the publication deadline.
The Dallas Express also reached out to Griffin and Keep Dallas Safe to ask about City leaders’ handling of the crisis but did not receive a response from either as of press time.