Your Treasure Map to 100-Plus Cars and Trucks Rusting in Sims and Brays Bayous

A spokesman says the Houston Police Department has “long been aware” of most of the 127 vehicles Texas Equusearch found submerged in Houston bayous back in 2011, when the nonprofit search-and-rescue organization used a sonar-equipped boat to hunt for the rented car of an elderly woman who had gone missing. But until Equusearch went public with the data this week, it appears no one from law enforcement had bothered to bring the rusting cars and trucks to the attention of environmental organizations, families of missing persons, wrecker drivers, classic-car collectors and restorers, bayou boaters, noodlers, or other groups that might have wanted to know.

No matter, now: Above, courtesy of Texas Equusearch and the Houston Chronicle, is an interactive map identifying the coordinates and descriptions of the vehicles — including at least one full big rig — that have been gently rusting at or near the bottom of Brays and Sims Bayous for at least 2 and a half years. The Chronicle data appears to exclude the half-dozen or so transportation options Equusearch searchers found beneath the waters of the relatively un-trafficked Buffalo Bayou. But you can spot some of them in the upper portion of this screen capture published with Joel Eisenbaum’s original report for KPRC of a similar map:


Map of Submerged Car Locations, Brays, Sims, and Buffalo Bayous, Houston

The biggest wet-car graveyard appears to be focused on the stretch of Brays Bayou around the Forest Park Cemetery on Lawndale St., where, according to Eisenbaum, 23 cars are resting in peace. But if you’re looking to find definitive data on the city’s greatest concentration of submerged vehicles, you’d want to note that the mapped spots are only those Equusearch came across in its search, which was limited to areas they believed the woman they were searching for might have traveled. The body of that woman, Lillian High, was eventually found inside a black Dodge Avenger in a retention pond off Old Galveston Rd. near the Beltway, after a 4-month search.

Map screenshot: Click2Houston/Texas Equusearch

Submerged Bayou Secrets

13 Comment

  • That underwater structure may give us the best urban sport fishery in the nation. Someone should alert the GHP for yet another marketing opportunity. All the carp and plecos you can catch.

  • Almost as bad as the bottom of lake Travis.

  • Imagine how many cold cases could be solved…

  • I believe that’s Forest Park Cemetery on Lawndale.

  • @Karma: Thanks for catching that! Fixed now.

  • And we were under the impression that HPD is suppose to solve crime and clear cold cases, obviously not. Basically HPD says they felt it was unnecessary and too costly to bring the cars up. I’m wondering is this where and how crooked cops get rid of “evidence”? It sure seems like a lame excuse to me or dare I say a “cover up”. typical HPD . peace

  • It would seem pretty important to pull these cars up before a serious flooding event, lest they get caught up in the flow and slam into and damage bridge piers/pilings. If Equusearch and a sonar boat over a few days can map this many vehicles in those areas, how many more are in other parts of the bayou system?

  • The Environmental Crimes division of the Harris County DA’s office prosecutes cases of cars dumped in bayous. It’s a felony. But someone has to pull the car up first.

  • That seems like a lot of vehicles to be chillin’ at the bottom of the bayou. Have Houstonians really bumped off that many people?

  • My guess is that the cluster near the cemetery is made up of stolen cars. It’s an easy drive down to the bank from Sylvan/N MacGregor. At night, that patch of trees would keep you hidden from the houses in Idylwood, and only the ghosts would see you from across the bayou. The two other clusters are also in stretches with relatively secluded shores.

  • This reminds me of that part of The Wire where the police chief orders a detective to stop opening up a row of abandoned houses because he knew they were full of bodies.

  • This is awesome. Rodrigo is probably right about the bottleneck there by Idylwood. I used to live across the bayou and would find all kinds of crap dumped in that area. This is the same spot that the Idylwood residents fought and won against having a public parking lot for the newly constructed bike trails along the bayou.

  • I would never have guessed! I live in Forest Hill, the neighborhood with the curved streets north of the cemetery, and didn’t realize the bayou was deep enough to conceal that many vehicles. How deep are Houston’s bayous like Brays? I would love to see how old some of the “Very Old” vehicles are. Hopefully these are further investigated and can give some people closure.