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Floods sweep casket from cemetery into road

27 May 2015, 08:47

Houston -  A man bicycling in Houston came across a casket that was apparently swept from a nearby cemetery into a roadway.

Authorities suspect floodwaters in southwestern Houston early Tuesday apparently carried the casket containing a woman's body from nearby Riceville Cemetery down Keegans Bayou onto South Braeswood Boulevard. That's where Walter Rubio found it.

Rubio told KTRK-TV (http://abc13.co/1FVOIEM ) in Houston that he "got a little scared," so he went to find police.

Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva says officers opened the casket and found a body inside.

Authorities are still trying to establish the identity of the woman but suspect she died eight years ago.

Riceville Cemetery was founded in the 1850s and had its last burial in 2011.

Meanwhile, Houston Mayor Annise Parker says three people who were on a boat are missing.

Parker said at a news conference Tuesday that the three people were with a group of six — including two firefighters — helping with rescue efforts in Houston overnight.

Parker said that the boat capsized for reasons that weren't immediately clear, and all six people fell into the water.

The firefighters and a third person were pulled to safety but the other three remain missing.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz says Texas is "hurting" with so much damage spread across the state.

The Republican presidential candidate says the continuing efforts by emergency crews to help victims and neighbors' offers of assistance are a testament to the spirit of Texas.

Cruz also said at a news conference in Houston on Tuesday that he will work with the state congressional delegation to seek federal assistance for cleanup efforts.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says first responders to the flooding situations across much of the state saved countless lives.

Abbott says the disaster declarations in the state stretch from "literally the Red River to the Rio Grande."

The Republican added that Texas will "continue to have rising waters" and warned residents to be careful.

Nine people have died in Texas due to severe weather.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says there may be as many as 4,000 properties with "significant damage."

She also says two bodies were found in vehicles and a third was found in a bayou, and three people are missing.

Parker said at a news conference Tuesday that authorities are trying to search property-by-property but are being hampered by high waters.

She said about 750 vehicles had been removed from the roadways by Tuesday afternoon. Officials said earlier that about 2,500 vehicles had been abandoned.

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- AP

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