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17 Bodies Exhumed From Clandestine Grave in Aquiles Serdán, Chihuahua

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“MX” for Borderland Beat

The bodies were dumped by cartel members in a mine hole. This has caused a lot of complications in the bodies’ retrieval.

The skeletal remains located in the Santo Domingo mine shaft, in Aquiles Serdan, Chihuahua, correspond to at least 17 people, State Attorney General César Augusto Peniche confirmed.

Peniche said the above after almost a year of discovering the clandestine grave. Back in July 2020, he released the names of 12 people who he believed were among the victims.

The death toll rose to 17 this weekend after investigators from Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) helped Chihuahua authorities in the search. The EAAF believes there are up to 20 bodies in this location.

During his press conference, Peniche said that cartel members bumped the bodies in a mineshaft (tiro de mina) that was at least 200 m deep. This made the discovery of the bodies very difficult, he said.

Of the 17 bodies found, only 4 have been given back to their respective family members.

The following bodies have been identified as:

  1. Emily Izamara Díaz Morales
  2. Pablo Martínez Moreno
  3. Adrián Omar Aldaz Álvarez
  4. Martín Refugio Piñón de Luna
  5. Ever Iván Muruato Lozoya
  6. José Antonio Maldonado Payán
  7. Jorge Gutiérrez Trujillo
  8. Antonio Mendoza Leal
  9. Pablo Martínez Moreno
  10. Javier Beltrán Sánchez
  11. Jaquelin Almader Carrasco
  12. Luis Martín Perea López
  13. Gloria Ivannia Perea Prieto

Relatives of the victims denounce not only the fact that the remains have not been handed over to them, but also the doubts they have regarding the identity of their children and the long delays.

A large crew is needed to retrieve the bodies

“They gave me remains from the waist down.”

René Muruato, father of Ever Iván Muruato Lozoya, points out that the investigation remains at the same point like in the beginning: no progress. He explains that investigators only gave him Ever’s body from the waist down.

However, he questioned the findings when investigators later gave him a foot that was wearing one of the sandals Ever was wearing. Ever’s father had already been given two feet remains.

“I started to doubt … how is it possible that they gave me the entire body from the waist down first, and then they come back and give me another foot, claiming it is Ever’s?”, he asked.

Another of the inconsistencies that the families found was the clothing that the investigators have shown as evidence. The families say that the remains they were given all have the same garments. In addition, despite the fact that some of those garments still had fat in their fabric, no DNA examinations were conducted.

“My life changed completely”

Teresa Payan, mother of Antonio Maldonado Payan, says investigators gave her the bodies of her son. However, she was not allowed to see the remains and was only able to bury them. She said she was not given pictures that proved the remains were those of her son.

“My son disappeared on 14 July 2019 and his body was supposedly found along with Ivannia’s. But they gave me the body months and did not let me see it. There are also no pictures in my son’s file. How can I be sure it is my son?”, she said.

Teresa explained that after her son went missing, she suffered an accident and was physically unable to attend the prosecutor’s office to inquire about her son.

“I was unable to walk for four months. When I finally made it to the prosecutor’s office, investigators gave me the remains. My daughter asked them to provide evidence showing it was Antonio, but they refused. They are very rude in the prosecutor’s office and they never give us an answer. We don’t know what they are hiding or what they don’t want us to know. My life changed completely because I’m not sure if I even buried my own son”.

Sources: El Diario de Chihuahua


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