[ Subject Matter: Forced disappearances
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required]
Parents of the victims that make up the VIDA organization travel in a borrowed van, run through the desert wearing tennis shoes and dig with machetes, knives, rakes or poles.
|Oscar Sanchez and his wife|
Reporter: Erica Flores
After the disappearance of Silvia Stephanie Sanchez Viesca, "Fanny", her parents as well as other families, who like them, are searching the surroundings for family members "disappeared". They formed the group VIDA, consisting of 35 fathers and mothers who hope to find their children "lifted" in this State between 2004 and 2013.
"Our group is very enthusiastic despite the fact that they are elderly people, Silvia and I are the "minors" at 53 years of age, while others in the group are aged between 60 and 70".
"We cross the desert in temperatures of 40 degrees, under direct sunlight", explains Oscar Sanchez, father of "Fanny".
|Members of VIDA discover more human remain, skull in centre of photo|
Since last January, VIDA has been moving through the Coahuila desert looking for clandestine graves.
Via email and social networks they receive some locations and in less than 15 tracks, they have found the body of a woman, some remains and three bones, the same items that the State Authorities and Forensic Police have classified as "animal remains".
|The corpse of the woman VIDA found|
"We are a handful of families waiting to recover their family members with or without life, with or without the Authorities", says Oscar.
Due to lack of resources, VIDA members work in the desert in tennis shoes and light clothes, bathed all day in the sun, carrying cakes in their backpacks, iced water, and some casseroles that they share together.
Their search tools are homemade or improvised, and among them there are machetes, knives, shovels, rakes and some poles.
Oscar was the main teacher after taking some course in citizens forensics and forensic science.
VIDA depart towards the desert aboard a small pickup truck provided to them by a Priest. They have requested support from Companies, Mining Companies and factories, but none have supported them.
Their meagre income to finance their searches arises from raffles and selling hamburgers.
As well as some parents continue searching for their children, others chose to do so and Oscar explains why, " we have a partner that, weeks after his son was "lifted" was called on the telephone. He told him that he was ok and alive. He could not return and asked his parents to stop searching for him".
Otis: they have also been working with another organization in this area, carrying out similar work the United Force for our disappeared in Coahuila (FUUNDEC) as reported in El Siglo de Torreon. These people need all the help they can get so please click your forward button and pass this story on when possible.
Original article in Spanish at Milenio
Otis: I am aware of the rumour that "Fanny" was the alleged girlfriend of El Lazca, presumed dead ex leader of Los Zetas. Her parents strenuously deny the rumour.