UPDATE: Mass grave, possibly containing dismembered children, in Texas

Update at 7:34 p.m. ET: USA TODAY’s Oren Dorell reports that the search warrant is expected to arrive about 8 p.m. ET and that deputies will begin searching then.

“The details provided to us indicated there may have been a violent crime scene here,” Capt. Rex Evans said.

Sheriff’s deputies also observed signs of possible violence, Evans said, though he would not elaborate, saying he is not at liberty to discuss factors that led deputies to request the search warrant.

“At this time no bodies have been observed, recovered or identified,” he said. “There have been no bodies observed at the scene.”

Update at 7:27 p.m. ET: At a news conference earlier, Liberty County Sheriff’s Capt. Rex Evans said that so far, authorities have “no evidence of deceased persons.”

“We have found some circumstances that have raised some questions and we have requested a search warrant. As soon as that warrant arrives here at the scene, we will further our investigation,” he said, KPRC-TV says.

Update at 7:22 p.m. ET: KTRK-TV has aerial footage of the property.

Update at 7:08 p.m. ET: Law enforcement sources tell CNN and CBS that bodies have been found. A federal source tells CNN at least 20; CBS’ source says “a lot of bodies.”

Liberty County sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Rex Evans said that as of 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET), officers had not exhumed any bodies, the Houston Chronicle reports.

“At this time we have not recovered any bodies,” he said. “We only received information of a possible crime scene here at this location. Upon our arrival we determined that there was a need for a search warrant. Once that warrant arrives at the scene we will further our investigation.”

The paper also spoke to the property owner, identified as Joe Bankson, who was reached in Dallas while traveling with his wife.

“I haven’t killed anybody,” he said. “And I have a lot of friends, but I haven’t helped anybody bury any bodies.”

Update at 6:45 p.m. ET: Liberty County sheriff’s officials said they found blood on the property. The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the tip came from a psychic. Here’s what a state law enforcement source told the paper:

“All we know is the sheriff department received a call about a mass grave, or something like that, with several bodies,” the source said. “They went and checked it, and there was nothing there. The caller went back and said, ‘No, you went to the wrong house.’

“They go back out and go to the house and see something dark that could have been blood, and do a persumpting test that [it] was human blood.”

The FBI is participating in the search.

Update at 6:34 p.m. ET: Authorities have brought in cadaver dogs to search a property in Hardin, The Cleveland Advocate reports. They acted after receiving a tip about bodies and a possible mass grave.

The property is at the intersection of County Roads 2049 and 2048 between Hardin and Daisetta, about 50 miles northeast of Houston.



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