|The civilian brigade found 500 skeletal remains in clandestine graves in Veracruz|
The result of the stay of the Brigada Nacional en Busca de Personas Desaparecidas en Veracruz (National Brigade in Search of Disappeared Persons in Veracruz) was the location of at least 500 human remains, all of which were torn apart by cutting machinery, stained with soot by the temperatures to which they were subjected to; 72 cases of disappearances; with the majority not even having a report and 60 samples of DNA from the relatives of the missing were taken, along with genetic profiles that will be compared to with the human remains that the group is protecting.
Previous Story: Veracruz: 11 Clandestine Graves Found With Charred Remains
Written & all photos taken by: Miguel Ángel León Carmona | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
Amatlán de Los Reyes, Veracruz, April 25, 2016— In 15 days, the National Brigade in Search of Disappeared Persons not only aired the smells of death in the central area of the state of Veracruz; they also exhibited to the Attorney General of Luis Ángel Bravo Contreras, the department that called the skeletal remains found in 15 clandestine “kitchens” pieces of wood.
Later, he recanted the absurdity published in the press release. He apologized to the families affected.
The result of the stay in Veracruz lands was the location of at least 500 skeletal remains, all of them torn apart by cutting machinery and were stained with soot due to the high temperature at which they were subjected to.
Searchers from six Mexican states: Guerrero, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Morelos y Baja California, tracked down around 20 points, in eight municipalities in central Veracruz, all of which have been identified as potential sowing fields for corpses: Acutlzingo, Nogales, Huiloapan, Ixtaczoquitlán, Córdoba, Amatlán, Omealca and Paso del Macho.
The versions given by anonymous people coincide with the statement of Manuel Antonio Mirón Rebolledo, Representative of Forensic Services in the region of Córdoba-Veracruz, who said that municipalities identified as red flags are Orizaba, Mendoza and Córdoba, where they have 400 folders of investigation of missing persons, from 2015 to date.
In addition, the group Córdoba – Orizaba, represented by Araceli Salcedo Jiménez, mother of Rubí Salcedo, a kidnapped youth allegedly by Los Zetas, documented 72 cases of disappearances; the majority don’t even have a denouncement.
Dr. Iván Martínez Duncker, head of the scientific group of the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM), says that 60 samples of DNA were taken from relatives of the missing, and that genetic profiles will be compared with the human remains that the brigade adequately guard.
The movement launched by citizens disgusted by the operation of Veracruz authorities, sheltered by the Diocese of Córdoba and the pastor of Amatlán de los Reyes, Julian Veronica, shares that “no one is exempt from the insecurity in the region. Not even a priest feels safe.”
The families seek treasures: hearts that stopped beating; 15 days deep in lands infested by thugs and halcones (falcons/someone who is the “eyes and ears” of the streets). Nothing stopped the need to reconnect with their dead. The brigade now affirm that the work is just the beginning and will track other regions of the state.
|Activists and families belonging to the disappeared in search of remains in Veracruz|
“We Tracked Death Camps”
The arrival of the visitors came on Saturday, April 9, the priest Julián Verónica, prayed for them and blessed their work tools; yellow ropes, pickaxes, shovels, and boots to go against snake bites. That’s how they started the search, without any studies, any money, but with the fervent desire to once again meet with their dead.
On Sunday, April 10, a group of advanced search came to the first point; an area called “El Infiernillo”, in the community of Cecilio Terán, Nogales, Veracruz. There, they found a receipt of a maid uniform purchase, a bill from the state of Sinaloa, and women’s pants, torn to pieces.
According to info the informants shared, “around here, there are a load of fights for the plaza between Los Zetas, the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (Jalisco New Generation Cartel) and the Sangre Nueva Zeta (New Blood Zeta), who are deserters of The Last Letter (Los Zetas). This is a dumping ground for the dead, an open pit, the same cartel comes and collects the bodies sometimes, other times, people call the authorities.”
The second point made was in the community of Chiltepec, located in Ixtaczoquitlán, Veracruz; a municipality where the people have become accustomed to the shootouts between criminals and police. For example, on April 22, 2016, three youths were killed in a shootout, starting in front of the School of Chemistry at the University of Veracruz in Orizaba and ended with blood and bullets 15 minutes from the origin of the dispute. Nothing was found there.
Eventually, the brigade ascended the hill “El Gentil”, in the municipality of Huiloapan de Cuauhtémoc. There, they found two tunnels, marked as suspicious. It’s a site that has not been reviewed due to a lack of tools. From this place, informants say “it is the lair of the evil, there they kill people. The screams are heard very strong.”
By Monday, April 11, a group of 50 searchers went to the farm La Pochota, in the municipality of Amatlán de los Reyes, Veracruz. The searchers encompassed an area of 70 meters, where they found a burnt 20-gauge shotgun cartridge, next to a sexual apparatus with steel rings that widens the head of a penis.
|Abandoned woman's clothing with traces of blood found by the brigade|
The evidence was located 40 meters from a well that irrigates sugarcane crops, in a hole that the rotting corpse of Liliana Aguilar Sánchez was found in on April 12, 2012. According to press reports, the deceased was a victim of rape.
Among the cane fields, kilos of clothes drenched in blood were also found, sizes and designs for youth and children; the main martyrs in the world of organized crime and violence; cannon fodder, as they call it. That’s how the second day ended. With tears of pain by the family, but bound to find the unfortunate truth.
On April 12, the anonymous deposits in collection boxes of the parish of Los Santos Reyes, led searchers to the town of Xuchiles, Omealca, Veracruz. The search was undermined by a warning call:
“We received a call saying that where we’re going is a hot spot; a dump of bodies. We don’t know if anyone is bothered by our search, nor if there will be problems, but anyway we’re already dead ever since the disappearance of our children, so we’ll go, holding the government responsible for what happens to us,” shared Juan Carlos Trujillo Herrera, a representative of the National Network Links.
The grim cenotes of the Río Blanco were inspected superficially because of the warnings. Evidence wasn’t found at the site.
It wasn’t until Friday, April 15 that the bodies began to sprout from the earth. First, in the congregation of San Rafael Calería, Córdoba, Veracruz, on land used for the production of sugarcane. There, they removed 11 clandestine cavities within a 30 meter radius; holes that were a meter deep, stinking of diesel.
Based on the statement of Mario Vergara, a searcher of Los Otros Desaparecidos de Iguala (The Other Missing of Iguala), the vertebrae found were detached by their attackers, allegedly with chainsaws and then burned in the fires where dozens of people were burned.
A Discredited Job
“The remains located do not correspond to human remains,” authorities of the Attorney General said, after the first forensic proceedings were conducted in an area of this region.
It was the way in which the attorney general of the state, Luis Ángel Bravo Contreras, responded, marking a record in forensic clinical trials because not even three hours had passed since the relatives of the missing handed them the chain of custody, when the attorney general said that the remains were of fabric scraps and wood, a publication that caused astonishment and anger among the victims.
“We already had an idea of the state that we were coming to, but now we see that Veracruz is a corrupt government, with authorities that could care less,” said Miguel Ángel Trujillo, brother of four michoacanos kidnapped under the government of Fidel Herrera Beltrán.
Meanwhile, Araceli Salcedo Jiménez, host of the search, said: “the government of Veracruz leaves us with shit and mocks our pain. OK, we will break all ties with them. They will not touch the evidence and we will go to federal agencies.
|An anonymous denouncement enabled them to locate more than 300 human bone pieces|
And so it happened, the Veracruz government was discarded ever since for any type of expert evidence without imagining that four other clandestine cavities would be found, this time with an outbreak of bones that reached up to 300 human remains.
This happened on April 20, 2016, when an anonymous ad nauseam led the brigade to a place marked with the letter Z and mass death. “Dig this well, here, the thugs massacred a lot of people and then they threw rocks over them,” the man said and then he ran like a wild animal clearing his trail among coffee plantations.
The place is located at the ranch Los Paredones, in the community of El Porvenir, also located in Córdoba, Veracruz, a radius of 40 meters, five minutes away from the 11 graves of San Rafael Calería, where the locals have now placed the congregation.
The family members dug only two meters and dug up 300 parts of vertebrae and severed ribs, muddy skulls, and a piece of femur and a hip, both exceeding 18 centimeters in length, violated by flames that burned on coffee grounds.
This time, the members of the brigada decided to ignore the attorney general and requested the services of the Policía Científica (forensic investigation police), running with Roberto Campa Cifrián, Secretary for Human Rights of the Secretariat of the Interior.
This is the legal way in which the victims are following, due to the inefficiency of the state authorities. As is the case of the relatives of Playa Vicente, who after the disappearance of the five youths in Tierra Blanca, on January 11, 2016, avoided the state agencies and requested help from the federation.
The only work that was accepted by the national brigade of the Veracruz government was the safekeeping of the area, with the condition that a member of the attorney general’s office would validate the human remains of the four clandestine cavities found by the group, as well as the 11 found in San Rafael Calería.
And so, María Del Rosario Zamora, general director of the investigations of the Attorney General’s Office of Veracruz, confirmed that the remains found in the first 11 cavities in the city of Córdoba, Veracruz, correspond to human bones. Refuting the previous statement published by the (CGCS).
“They are already locating skeletal remains. I apologize for the hasty issuing of the [previous] statement, but it was in the sense of what was found at that time by us,” addressing the offended relatives, with the publication approved by Alberto Silva Ramos, director of Comunicación Social del Estado (Social Communication of the State).
Non-conformant, the brigade members also demanded a public apology, to which the attorney general’s office agreed to. In addition to this, they requested the presence of an authority to validate, in the same way as the first one, the discovery of the 300 bone fragments.
“It’s very clear that it’s human remains. They showed me a print run of charred bones and I have no choice but to ratify it,” Manuel Antonio Mirón Rebolledo, representative of forensic services in the area of Córdoba, Veracruz declared before the media.
|15 days of working for the citizens-turned-clandestine grave searchers|
And so the citizen participation continues in 15 days of working and 10 of searching. Truth diggers, planted by organized crime underground, in an apparent disinterest of state authorities. A lesson in courage and basic knowledge to recover relatives massacred to Veracruz families.
On one hand, Juan Carlos Trujillo does not rule out that there will be a second and third participation of the brigade, to search the full breadth of the longest cemetery in the country, as is categorized by Father Alejandro Solalinde of Veracruz.
For her part, Araceli Salcedo shares that the need for the Veracruz families to recover their loved owns would be to make a brigade, an established group that goes out for a walk every weekend to not find or find bodies that the government is still pending to recover.
“Why do we look for them?” shouts a woman who scolded Javier Duarte in 2015 in a parliament of the United Nations in New York…”Because we love them,” her companions all the way from the land of organized crime answer back as they sink their shovels to find their children.