“Florida Victims and Dog Found Dead in Texas Cistern Tragedy”

By | August 12, 2023



The bodies of three Florida residents and their dog were found in an underground tank filled with sewer gas in Bastrop, Texas. The victims were identified as Denise Martinez, Delvys Garcia, and Noel Vigil-Benitez, who were part of a hog hunting party. The incident occurred when one of the victims tried to rescue their dog, and the others jumped in to help. The bodies and the dog were recovered from the tank, and an autopsy has been ordered. The investigation is ongoing. Nikki Dobrin reported

The corpses of three individuals from Florida and their canine companion were retrieved from an underground tank filled with sewer gas in a cornfield located in Bastrop, Texas. The victims have been identified as Denise Martinez, 26, Delvys Garcia, 37, and Noel Vigil-Benitez, 45, all hailing from South Florida. Sadly, the dog did not survive the tragic incident.

The discovery was made after a failed attempt to rescue the trapped dog, which led to the untimely deaths of two men and one woman who were part of a hog hunting party. The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office in Texas confirmed the identities of the victims. The bodies of the deceased, along with the dog, were found in an underground cistern filled with noxious sewer gas within a cornfield near Elgin, Texas.

The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office released a statement on their Facebook page, stating that first responders encountered what appeared to be a partially filled underground cistern emitting strong fumes similar to those of a septic tank. Unfortunately, no signs of life were observed.

Autopsies have been ordered, and the bodies, as well as the deceased dog, were transported to the medical examiner’s office by a local funeral home. Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook revealed that one of the victims had attempted to rescue the dog, described as a bloodhound, after it fell into the hole around 1 a.m. Another two victims jumped into the cistern in a courageous effort to save their companion and the first individual.

A fourth member of the hunting party, an unidentified man, refrained from entering the cistern and instead rushed to their hunting truck to call 911. Underground cisterns are commonly employed for rainwater collection and well water storage. Sheriff Cook disclosed that the hole’s opening, through which the victims fell, measured approximately 4 feet wide and contained 8 feet of water, as well as hydrogen sulfide gas.


Efforts to recover the bodies were hindered by the cistern’s hazardous conditions, including the fumes, stagnant water, and structural instability. The decision was made to ventilate the cistern by eliminating the hydrogen sulfide gas and draining the water. Although attempts were made to dig beside the structure, they were abandoned due to concerns about compromising the walls and jeopardizing safety.

After successfully removing the fumes and water from the cistern and stabilizing the air inside, a drone was deployed to assess the integrity of the underground walls. Subsequently, a member of the sheriff’s office was safely lowered into the hole, recovering the bodies of all three victims and the bloodhound.

The investigation into the circumstances leading to the individuals’ presence in the cistern is still ongoing. The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office aims to verify the initial details surrounding the tragic incident..