Mexican government says it doesn’t have enough forensic scientists to identify 52,000 murder victims found in mass-graves, including 10,000 corpses whose gender can’t be determined
- Mexico’s Forensic Medical Services have been unable to identity 52,000 bodies that have been found in mass graves throughout the years
- A total of 31,844 bodies that have gone unidentified were recovered from 2006 to 2019 and linked to the government’s war against criminal organizations
- The remainder of the 52,000 were dumped in the years prior to 2006
- At least 27,000 bodies are currently buried in a common burial site with another 5,000 being held in cold room storage units
- Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas said the government is in talks with Congress to create the National Center for Human Identification
Mexican government officials say they do not have the forensic manpower to identify more than 52,000 murder victims found buried in mass graves.
The findings were released by Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas, with the figure including 31,844 bodies dumped between 2006 and 2019, as well as another 24,000 buried in mass graves in the years prior to 2006. Officials have not even been able to identify the gender of around 10,000 of those corpses.
‘We have a forensic crisis that has led to the lack of capacities to guarantee the identification of people and their return to their families,’ Encina said last Thursday. ‘According to estimates, both from public institutions and non-governmental organizations, we have around 52,000 unidentified bodies in the common graves and in the forensic services of the country.’
Encina revealed that the government has been working with Congress on creating the National Center for Human Identification which will help state forensic units identify the corpses.
Residents alerted the local police of a foul odor emanating from a grass field in La Primavera, a neighborhood in the municipality of Zapopan on September 3, 2019. Authorities from Jalisco Forensic Science Institute were able to pieced together 41 bodies. Last Thursday, Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas acknowledged that government forensic agencies are not well equipped identify 52,000 bodies that were recovered between 2006 and 2019, and return them to their loved ones.
Volunteer group searching for missing persons discovered 12 skeletons and one decomposed body in the western Mexico resort town of Puerto Peñasco on September 12, 2019
At least 56 percent of the bodies that have gone unidentified were located in State of Mexico (5,490); Mexico City (5,135); Baja California (4,599); Jalisco (3,682); and Chihuahua (2,975), according to data obtained by Quinto Elemento Lab.
The majority of the bodies are connected to victims who were involved in kidnappings that have for the most part been connected to the country’s war against criminal organizations that was unleashed by the administration of President Felipe Calderon in 2006 and which has continued under his successors.
Clandestine burial sites have become common in states like Jalisco as criminal factions frequently use pits to dispose of the bodies of rival gangs or kidnap victims.
From 2006 to 2019, government data showed that more than 289,000 people were assassinated and over 73,000 were kidnapped.
During that same period, at least 31,844 bodies went unidentified – including 17,590 corpses that were recovered during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term in office from 2013 to 2018. Dates for an additional 6,869 bodies are unknown.
Members of Veracruz state police (pictured on September 7, 2018) work at the site of a mass grave in the town of Alvarado set up a perimeter where an exhumation took place
A human vertebra inside a latex glove is pictured at the site where a clandestine grave was found in Colinas de Santa Fe, Veracruz, in 2016. The burial site is said to be the biggest discovered in Latin America
Data also shows that 25,833 male and 2,419 female remains were located between 2006 and 2019. However, forensic teams were unable to register the genders of 10,639 bodies.
The rise in bodies that have not been identified swamped 44 Forensic Medical Service facilities in 18 states by the end of 2019. At least five centers in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua City, Tepic, Xalapa and another operated by the Attorney General’s Office were at operating at 50 percent capacity.
Currently a total of 27,271 bodies are buried in a grave site with the Forensic Medical Service is keeping 5,446 in cold room storage units. An additional 954 bodies were cremated and its ashes are stored in urns, while another 2,589 were donated to universities for research.