Investigators work to identify human remains, family believes it could be missing loved one

University of North Texas forensic investigators are working to identify a skull that was found near a flea market in Southwest San Antonio.

San Antonio – For the first time since the discovery, a family is opening up about human remains found near the Poteet Flea Market.

On November 20, 2016, Maria and her husband visited the flea market off of State Highway 16, where she disappeared within a matter of minutes. Her family, the community and law enforcement agencies have been searching for her ever since.

However, last year in September, a group of dove hunters found a skull near where Maria was last seen. That area is described to be about 3,200 feet away from the Flea Market. It’s a place Maria’s son, Refugio said they are familiar with.

“We were up and down that area so much and for that skull to be found, it’s hard to believe we could’ve missed something,” he said.

Bexar County Medical Examiners attempted to identify the skull but due to it being under the sun for years, the results were inconclusive. Margie Llamas, Maria’s daughter, said that wasn’t the end of the road for them. They sent the skull to the University of North Texas in May for a more detailed forensic analysis.

“They will return the remains back to the medical examiner’s office here and the medical examiner’s office here will then…they told me they’ll send it to DPS with the forensic artist for a sketch,” she said.

However, the process could take months or years before they get an answer. While this discovery could bring them one step closer to closure, it’s also bringing up a mix of emotions.

“It’s been difficult because this could be the answer…not the answer we want but, this could be mom. We at least want to be able to, to know that,” Margie said.

While the family waits for investigators to identify the human remains, they’re asking the community to share any information that could lead them to where Maria Llamas is.

If you have information that could help investigators, contact the San Antonio Police Department at 210-224-7867.

About the Authors:

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.