HOUSTON, Texas - Somewhere deep in the bayou, countless mysteries remain unsolved. Police say for years, gangs, mobsters, car thieves and other crooks have been using our streams to dump vehicles, letting traces of their unlawful activity swim with the fishes.
"Some of it might be insurance fraud", explained Sgt. Tracy Hicks, a detective with HPD Auto-theft division, "or someone driving their own car down in the bayou, to get rid of it."
Areas deemed no man's land, such as Brays Bayou at Old Spanish Trail in Southeast Houston, are filled with cars… some of which could be hiding dark secrets.
"Each one of these cars is telling a story of its own, and has its own story about why it's in the bayou", expressed Houston City Council Member Michael Kubosh. "
And it's not just one vehicle, two or three. Investigators believe there are hundreds of them under water.
"Initially, Texas EquuSearch located a hundred and twenty five cars in the bayou", Kubosh added, "and last year Tim Miller with Texas EquuSearch and I went on a boat with the constables and we discovered that there were at least eight new cars that have been dropped in the bayou since the last time."
Kubosh and the search and recovery organization Texas EquuSearch have been making waves for quite a while about this issue, waiting for funds to finally float their way.
The City of Houston and Harris County are now joining forces to start bringing the submerged vehicles to the surface. A $50,000 pilot project kicked off on Wednesday. Two contractors brought a crane and a team of professional divers to pull cars off the water.
"In this operation here we're working on about 35 cars along this little area", said Sgt. Hicks.
Officers from HPD Auto-theft division will determine whether those cars were reported as stolen, or if they're in any way connected to crimes.
"We've already identified the first car we removed as a stolen from 1998", claimed the detective. "It's an '87 Buick."
But the operation could take a much uglier turn.
"If we do find anything else in the car, like remains of any sorts, then there will be homicide detectives on scene for that, and they'll take it over from us."
Like any large city, Houston has her own networks living in the shadows and breaking the law. If our bayous could talk, they may tell stories we might not want to hear.