El Diario 6-10-12
More than 25,000 bodies went to common graves from 2006 to 2011: PGR
Distrito Federal (Mexico City): The remains of more than 25,000 persons murdered from December 2006 to September 2011 were sent to common burial sites because they were not identified by authorities or claimed by a family member, and those are estimates obtained from information that district attorneys and state attorneys general have provided during three recent national conferences on criminal prosecution, officials of the Procuraduria General de la Republica (PGR) [analogous to the U.S. Department of Justice].
During that period, there were officially 47,515 murders; of that number, around 5,000 were military personnel (marines or army), federal police officers, state or municipal police officers; the rest were civilians. Of the more than 40,000 citizens that were murdered, " in reality, not even 30% of the cases are investigated by local prosecutors, and the majority of the [cases] remain at the state level because the federal government requires evidence that the crime was committed by or is related to organized crime."
"The level of identification [of bodies] by local authorities varies between three and four of every 10 bodies, and the other six or seven are sent to common graves when the statutory period for each jurisdiction expires, which can be up tp a year. But there are cases in which bodies are declared "unidentified" in just two months and are sent to a common grave."
From December 2006 to September 2011, of the more than 40,000 homicides presumably related to organized crime, the PGR accepted only 1,500 cases (among them the bodies found in mass graves in Tamaulipas, Durangoand Chihuahua between 2011 and 2012) and achieved a 70% level of efficiency in the identification and delivery of bodies to family members. Around 450 remains were sent to common graves, stated the officials interviewed, who are participating in the drafting of a protocol intended to create a database of murdered and "disappeared" persons.
Sources stated that one of the biggest problems that local authorities face in identifying victims is the lack of infrastructure and resources, given that a thorough genetic (DNA) test costs between 15,000 and 20,000 pesos.
There have been cases, such as happened with the Durango Attorney General's office, where more than 2,000 remains were sent to a common grave between 2006 and 2011, and of those, 300 were found in clandestine burial sites and dug up with heavy equipment without taking measures to preserve [evidence].
In that state (Durango), the local authority asked people who went there to try to identify relatives among the bodies to pay for DNA tests at their own expense so that authorities would have some basis with which to compare the profiles from the remains that were found.
Likewise, it was learned that at the national level, the only genetic/DNA database that exists is the one that the PGR developed, which contains DNA samples from the 72 murdered immigrants and 193 bodies buried clandestinely by the Zetas, some murdered in Michoacan, Sinaloa, Durango, Coahuila, Guerrero, Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon.
The states where the greatest numbers of officially recognized homicides were committed between December 2006 and September 2011 are: Chihuahua, with 12,439 cases; Sinaloa, 5,487; Guerrero, 4,293; (State of )Mexico, 2,118; Tamaulipas, 2,583; Michoacan, 2,295; Nuevo Leon, 2,104; Coahuila, 1,211; Duraingo, 2,601, and Baja California, with 2,275.
In May of this year, the chief investigator for Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, Luis Garcia Lopez-Guerrero, pointed out that in 80 or 90% of the country there are no means to preserve cadavers for prolonged periods for purposes of study and investigation, to the point that several jurisdictions don't even have the services of a medical examiner, in which case autopsies are conducted in private funeral service agencies. In addition, he stated that his agency's statistics had calculated that from December 2006 to December 2008, the number of unidentified deceased individuals was up to 10,783.