Debanhi Escobar was 18 years old and had a law degree. On April 8, he went to a party and his friends ordered the driver to take him home. It is unknown why he fell from the car. In the last known photo, he stands alone on the “path of death” connecting Monterrey and Nuevo Laredon in Mexico. His rotten body, thrown into an abandoned tank, was found by road workers at a motel. Activists who read a long list of missing and killed women say Mexico is a mass grave.
The search for Debanhi lasted thirteen days. Although authorities said they had carried out a large-scale operation, the body of the 18-year-old was not found until workers at a nearby motel, where he was last seen, complained of an odor from an abandoned tank. Debanhi is known for his cross necklace and dress. “She was here for thirteen days. How many times have you looked here? The father of the 18-year-old shouted. Investigators say they searched the motel several times.
On the night of April 8-9, Debanhi went to a party. According to Mexican media, his friends ordered the driver to take him home. It is unknown why he got out of the car. Her father, Mario Escobar, claims he heard surveillance footage from prosecutors alleging that the driver had inappropriately touched his daughter. “I think my daughter was tired of this rape,” he said. The driver denies everything, claiming that Debanhi wanted him to stop. According to Mario Escobar, the driver did not kill his daughter, but was responsible for her death.
The driver took photos of the girl saying that she had to send them to her friends to let her know that she had fallen out of the car. One of them went online – you can see Debanhi standing alone, the Death Highway is named after a series of mysterious disappearances of truck drivers. The road runs from northeastern Mexico on the border with the United States between Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo.
When Debanhi’s body was found, provincial officials said it was an unfortunate accident. However, autopsy results showed that he had been shot in the head at least once and that there was no water in his lungs, presuming that he had died elsewhere, refuting this version and only then throwing his body in vain. tank. Now investigators do not rule out the possibility of another autopsy, but it will require exhumation. The family buried Debanhi on Saturday. As her father explained, they could not wait any longer because the girl’s body was in a very bad condition. According to El Pais correspondent Beatriz Guille, the coffin was completely covered with fresh flowers.
Debanhi was the only child of the teachers’ daughter. He lived on the outskirts of Monterrey and studied law at a state university. His friends say he is optimistic and loves to dance. He would be 19 in September.
Long list of missing persons
Debanhi’s assassination, numerous negligences in the search, and the initial downsizing shocked Mexicans. The body of 26-year-old Maria Fernanda Contreras, who went missing six days ago, was found on April 9 near Monterrey. Activists are concerned that more women are missing near the provincial capital of Nuevo Leon. At least nine women and girls went missing in Monterrey last month, according to the New York Times.
The news has exacerbated the crisis in the administration of Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Garcia. Following the discovery of Maria Fernanda Contreras’ body, a series of protests and even a fire broke out at the state government headquarters.
Garcia Debanhi, who took office in late 2021 after public pressure, set up a task force to search for Escobar. The governor suggested that the increase in the number of missing people was due to deteriorating mental health and a lack of prospects for COVID-19. He ruled out the involvement of organized crime groups and tried to minimize the problem.
In 2022, 52 women went missing in the state of Nuevo Leon – 41 of them were registered in the Monterrey metro, which covers the provincial capital and dozens of municipalities. According to the National Register of Missing Persons, 1,790 women have gone missing in Nuevo Leon over the past 50 years. Ninety percent of them have been missing since 2010.
Families of missing women draw attention to the inactivity of services. Maria Fernanda Contreras’ father drove for hours in the neighborhood where he believed his daughter was missing. At that time, the authorities called on him to wait for the results of his actions. Debanhi Escobar’s father said he made a mistake “because he trusted the prosecutor” after finding his daughter’s body.
The spiral of disappearances and killings
In Mexico, about 11 women are killed every day, and 95 percent of crimes are never solved.
The UN Human Rights Committee says impunity for missing women is “virtually absolute”. “They are forcing us to destroy them,” Angelica Orozko of the Nuevo Leon group told relatives of the missing.
– No one has been prosecuted or punished for committing these crimes in the past, or for obstructing the work of the judiciary. “Under these conditions, we can still be killed by drug cartels and others.”
According to him, the recent disappearances in Nuevo Leon are not “isolated cases”. He recalls the case of Orozko in the village of Sabinas Hidalgo, where at least 10 women went missing in the first three months of 2021. He noted that in the larger Monterrey region, all victims were young and missing – services found only three of them, all dead.
– Some of them knew each other. We told the authorities to investigate a possible network of traffickers, but they did nothing. Orozco says they wanted to investigate the deaths as individual cases. One activist warns that something similar could now happen in Monterrey.
tvn24.pl, Excelsior, El Pais, New York Times, NPR
Main photo source: ENEX