19 | NOV | 2019
2,000 bone fragments found in Sinaloa
International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is observed on August 30 – Photo: Laura Jiménez/EL UNIVERSAL

2,000 bone fragments found in Sinaloa

30/08/2019
13:49
Laura Jiménez
Mexico City
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On August 24, members of the State Brigade for the Search of Missing People found plastic bags with more than 2,000 bone fragments of hands and feet that belonged adults, adolescents, and children

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Before former presidential candidate Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, “El Bronco,” mentioned the initiative of “cutting the hands of those who steal,” in Culiacán de Rosales, Sinaloa, members of organized crime were already doing it.

On August 24th, members of the State Brigade for the Search of Missing People found, in a landfill near the gated community “La Primavera,” bags that contained more than 2,000 bone fragments of hands and, it seems, also feet, according to the forensic staff of the area.

Those degraded bags were closed and were left close to a path where vehicles can enter. They were tore; there were scratches and openings in the plastic, probably caused by animals. Bones were scattered on the ground. They had to be careful not to step on them.

“I can’t believe they are human,” said one of the experts. “They are too many.”

“They look like the bones used to make pozole,” answered his colleague.

“If they’re human, this is terrible, where are we supposed to be?”

The bodies of Oswaldo Chávez and David Morales were abandoned by “La Primavera;” there are two crosses there in their memory.

“La Primavera” is a “minicity” in Culiacán. The walls block the view inside, but this exclusive place is home of businessmen, politics, and people that can afford a house worth more than MXN $10 million. There is a lagoon inside and a board administers purchase requests.

For years, they have found bodies near the outside walls. In the path that leads to the landfill “La Cohetería,” you can see several crosses in memory of the found corpses. Some of them have flowers and banners with pictures of the deceased. One of the crosses was protected with a red jacket; it seemed as if it had been recently put there. “They are used to doing it. It gives identity to their dead,” mentions a member of the state brigade.

Martín Oswaldo Chávez was murdered in 2011, he was 31 years old. Two years later, Jesús David Morales Medina, 18, was murdered, too. They were abandoned in the same place by “La Primavera” where two crosses remember them.
 

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Things changed “a bit” when they installed cameras near the entrances of the gated community. “They don’t throw them in the path anymore. Now, they leave them by the landfill, and no one notices because no one goes there by night,” mentions one of the local police officers.

“The landfill is also used as a junkyard. Others go there to strip cars. Only scoundrels come here; murderers, robbers, anything,” mentions a member of the search group.

Last week, some kilometers away, they abandoned the lifeless body of a woman. She had a bullet wound and a dead toad in the neck.”They put the toad on her for being a toad [a snitch],” tells a police officer. “The reason depends on how they’re killed or what they put on them. They also cut the hands of those who steal.”

Members of the state brigade showed images of the phalanges found in the bags to a forensic anthropologist and she mentioned that the bones belonged to adults, adolescents, and children.

“I can’t understand,” says a mother, member of the brigade.

“They tortured them,” they answer. “They cut their fingers.”

“What about the small bones?”

“Perhaps they were taken away with their family, I don’t know.”

The bags only had small bones. “The hands are there, but where is the rest of the bodies?” asks one of the searching mothers. This month, the search brigades have located 10 bodies in that landfill. All of them in different conditions, as well as many bone fragments, without taking into account the bags with phalanges.
 

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Last weekend, they found two bodies: one of a man, and another that had been for approximately two months in that place, according to witnesses. Most of the bodies that have been found were shot in the back of the head.

From the different collectives in Sinaloa, 80% are united and that is why they created the state brigade, which has been working on the field since May 15th. They have looked for graves and have received threats more than once.

The search brigades for missing people of Sinaloa have found the remains of hands and feet. Now the question is: where is the rest of these bodies?

I know where your son is. After five years, a mother looking for her son received a call some months ago: “I know where your son is buried and I know so because I was there when he was killed.” The woman tells that she was left speechless and whoever called her kept talking: “Your kid asked me to tell you because you would go crazy if you didn’t know what had been of him. I hadn’t called you before because I thought you would kill me...” She interrupted him. “I just want my son back. I want him to have a place where I can bring him flowers and cry.”

“If she were you, my mom would have killed me,” answered the guy. “I’m not seeking revenge, I told him.”

“Your son is buried in x place,” by the ranch that is by the old path to Cerritos. And if you say who I am, we’re both fucked up,” he threatened her.
 

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Near the old path to Cerritos, in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, 14 bodies had been found in graves in less than three months. With the rain, the ground becomes muddy and the swarms of mosquitoes penetrate jeans; there are many obstacles for the search, but they do not stop.

On August 23, while they were digging, groundwater began flooding a grave; a small channel was made for the water to run, but as soon as the shovels dug, the water filled it once again.

Once they could see a fabric and a foot bone, they left the place to the authorities, who were not prepared for the situation due to a lack of equipment. “Sometimes we have to lend them our material because they don’t even have that,” says a woman from the brigade.

“They don’t know how to treat the bodies and they don’t know how to take them out of the graves,” mentions one of the relatives.

Four months ago, the State Search Commission was created. Along with the state brigade, the National and State Commission for Human Rights and the groups they have found more than 20 bodies. They work on the field along with the families. They have tracked and found positive points, but many are missing; there is a lack of resources and staff.

From 2011, August 30th is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. In a report of 2017 the National Commission for Human Rights said that in the last 20 years, 57,861 people have been reported as disappeared in Mexico.
 

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