Dylan Esaú: Mexican authorities find missing 2-year-old in Chiapas

Dylan Esaú went missing on June 30 in southern Mexico

Dylan Esaú: Mexican authorities find missing 2-year-old in Chiapas
Dylan was found alone with his abductor - Photo: File photo/EFE
English 14/08/2020 12:39 AP Mexico City Christopher Sherman/AP Actualizada 20:29

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A 2-year-old boy whose abduction set off a hunt that helped rescue other stolen children sat on his mother’s lap Friday as officials in southern Mexico described how they finally tracked him down.

After the complaint filed by Juana Pérez, Dylan’s mother, about her son being missing did not have great repercutions, she and her relatives traveled to Mexico City to ask President López Obrador for help.

They waited for several hours outside the National Palace with a banner that said “Andrés Manuel López Obrador, help me find my son Dylan.”

Thanks to media outlets, the story gained attention and then the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office, which had not been in contact with Mrs. Pérez, held a news briefing to show the progress on the case.

Chiapas state prosecutor Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca said that investigators located the woman suspected of abducting Dylan Thursday in Cintalapa, two hours west of San Cristóbal de las Casas, from where he was kidnapped on June 30.

They quickly organized an operation for his rescue and found him alone with his accused abductor, a woman identified only as 23-year-old Margarita, in keeping with official policy.

The search for Dylan Esaú, who was led away from a market where his mother worked, led investigators in July to discover a child trafficking ring and recover 23 children, but not Dylan. Investigators said at the time that the children were forced to sell trinkets in the streets of the picturesque colonial city and housed in poor conditions.

The children were between 3 months old and 15 years old.

It was said there was a link to Dylan’s abduction among the arrested; people close to the child trafficking network was responsible for him going missing.

According to officials, two of the arrested women were related to 12 of the “rescued” children.

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Then, the Chiapas prosecutor offered a reward worth MXN $300,000 for anyone who provided information on Dylan’s whereabouts.

Then, the Chiapas prosecutor offered a reward worth MXN $300,000 for anyone who provided information on Dylan’s whereabouts.

A second reward, also worth MXN $300,000, would go for anyone who provided information to locate the woman identified as Ofelia “N,” who is from the Ixtapa municipality, who directly participated in the abduction of the boy.

Investigators had a security camera video of a woman arriving at the market with two children and then one of them leading Dylan out of the market a short time later. That girl then returned to the market alone, apparently having handed Dylan over to someone.

Dylan’s mother, Juanita Pérez, traveled to Mexico City to draw attention to her search in July. The boy’s father had emigrated to California to find work, and thus Pérez, 23, has had to care for Dylan and his sister by herself.

Llaven said Margarita told investigators that she had been unable to have her own children.

“She was planning how she could get a child,” Llaven said. “She had been at the (market) for two days, in the streets, looking for a child who was in a vulnerable situation.”

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She allegedly paid a boy and girl MXN $200 pesos to lead Dylan away from his mother by convincing them that she was his real mother. Llaven said she could face up to 75 years in prison.

Dylan sat on Pérez’s lap during the news conference, drawing with a pen.
Pérez said she was very happy and grateful. “Thank God I have my little chubby (boy).” She said he seems good, a little scared, but he remembers her and their family.

Dylan was found at the Las Palmas town in Chiapas with the person who abducted him, a woman who was abandoned by her husband because she could not have children.

Margarita, a young woman who was born in Nueva Esperanza de los Pobres, a community of some 600 inhabitants, was afraid her neighbors would snitch on her when they heard about the MXN $600,000 reward to find Dylan.

That is why she moved to Las Palmas, a town with only 20 houses, 19 km away from Cintalapa, near Oaxaca, however, she was found by the police soon after.

According to the investigation, the woman believed she would not be found at Las Palmas and she dreamed of recovering her home once her husband knew there was a child at home.

Since her partner abandoned her, Margarita cried many times due to not being fertile and although she looked for help, she was not able to get pregnant. She also dreamed of a little boy calling her “mom.”

Margarita pretended to be pregnant soon after her husband abandoned her. She walked on the streets so that her neighbors would see her pregnancy and told her friends she was “expecting” and that when the baby was born, her husband would return home because “he had gone to the city” to earn money and build a house like those families of migrants who receive remittances from the U.S.

Before her fake pregnancy, Margarita began to go out of her community to plan how she would steal a boy. She thought of looking for her “son” in Cintalapa and Tuxtla, but she did not find him until she thought about San Cristóbal de las Casas.

On June 28, Margarita arrived at San Cristóbal from Tuxtla. That Sunday, Margarita discovered the market where she was to find Dylan. On Monday, she even asked for the prices of fruits and vegetables as she searched for children.

Once she found Dylan, Margarita went want to the room she was renting to plan how to abduct the little boy without being noticed. 

She thought it was best to look for other children to ask them to help her.  After counting the money she still had to return home, she decided to offer MXN $200 to the children who would help her; she told them Dylan was actually her child.

Once she had Dylan, Margarita rushed to return to her home. She was happy because now she had a son to feed, bathe, see him laugh, and hold his hand, wishing her husband would return home. Meanwhile, Juanita, Dylan’s mom, was crying at the Public Minister.

However, her happiness would not last forever for 50 police officers surrounded her new home at Las Palmas, where she hid with Dylan, in order to reunite the little boy with her mother, 45 days after being separated.

Margarita “N” was arrested that day after Dylan was found safe and sound at Las Palmas.

Llaven Abarca said the woman could be sentenced with up to 75 years in prison for the abduction of Dylan Esaú.