Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, October 17, 2011

Juárez: Daughters may be missing, but still cherished

by Lourdes Cardenas \ El Paso Times

Although this article may not seem immediately relevant to the coverage of the drug war in Mexico there is an obvious connection in that “la inseguridad”, the lack of security, which is fueled by criminals filling the void left by police forces that are overwhelmed, infiltrated and in some cases defeated, by organized crime and drug traffickers.

One of the manifestations of la inseguridad are the disappearances and homicides of girls and young women which has been a fact of life in Ciudad Juarez since the 1990’s.

These crimes against women are now spreading into other regions of Mexico.

It is believed that organized crime is now kidnapping females for the purpose of sex trafficking.

Powerful Narcos are said to pick and choose their “prizes” whom they abduct with impunity....Borderland Beat

Luz Elena Munoz Ruiz, 36, mother of Nancy Iveth Navarro Munoz, said it has been difficult to move forward since her daughter went missing. (Special to the El Paso Times)

JUAREZ -- Wednesdays have become a special day for Luz Elena Muñoz. It was a Wednesday when her eldest daughter, Nancy Iveth Navarro Muñoz, 18, went missing. And every Wednesday, for some strange reason, she hopes her daughter will appear and be at home again.

Nancy Iveth's bedroom remains intact, as she left it on the morning of July 13, when she left her house to seek employment in a store selling fabrics in Downtown Juárez. There are her clothes, her shoes, her makeup and most important, there is Briana, her one-and-a-half-year old baby, who was still being breast fed when her mother disappeared.

"The girl was very close to her," said Muñoz, 36, while trying to calm the restless, crying granddaughter in her arms. "Every day I pray for my daughter to return."

Muñoz is not alone. The parents of Esmeralda Castillo Rincon, who now would be 16, and Perla Ivonne Gonzalez, who would be 17, also hold out hope. Their daughters disappeared in 2009.

"We are partners of pain," said Jose Luis Castillo, Esmeralda's father. "It is a very painful process, entering her room, looking at her photos, her notebooks É the pain kills you."

Amid the wave of violence plaguing the city since 2008, the increasing cases of missing women have lost relevance in the spotlight, activists in Juárez said. However, the reputation of the city as a place that isn't safe for women is as valid as it has been since the '90s, when the city was worldwide known for the highest rate of femicides.

"We can't protect our girls. No family can feel confident when their daughters are in the street alone. Anyone can take them away," said Marisela Ortiz, activist and founder of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa. "It is not just that there are conditions of possible human trafficking ... in many cases they take the girls away because they can."

According to Chihuahua's Attorney General office, there are 57 open investigations of missing women this year. The number has gone up from 16 in 2008, to 20 in 2009, and 27 in 2010.

Between January 1995 to October this year in Juárez alone, there are a total of 145 open investigations related to missing women.

This number shows just the ongoing investigations, but it is a clear indicator of the magnitude of the problem. In June this year, authorities opened investigations for 11 cases; in July there were 10; in August, eight; in September, 11; four already in October.

The vast majority of the cases involve women ages 12 to 18.

Cecilia Espinosa, member of the civil organization Red de Mujeres, said that 227 women have been reported missing this year. In 2010 the number was 389; in 2009 it was 259 and in 2008, 326.

The Chihuahua Attorney General's Office didn't confirm this number. An interview with the officials in charge of the missing persons unit was not granted by the time of this publication.

Like Nancy Iveth, many young women disappeared in downtown Juárez, an area that authorities have classified as a high-risk zone for women.

"It is very concerning that women continue disappearing beside an international sentence from the Interamerican Human Rights Commission) that obliges the Mexican government to create conditions to protect women," said Ortiz.

Discouraging policy

Elvira González Vaquero said her world collapsed when her l5-year-old daughter, Perla Ivonne, went missing July 21, 2009.

She is convinced that she was taken away by a parquero, a parking lot attendant on the streets of Francisco Villa and Vicente Guerrero in Downtown.

Perla Ivonne was working at a Golden Burger and she told her mother that the attendant offered her a mobile phone. "That man was harassing her," Gonzalez said.

Through her own investigation, Gonzalez learned that her daughter was seen walking away from the restaurant with the attendant, but nothing more. The authorities have provided no more information.

The same has happened to Castillo, Esmeralda's father. His 14-year-old daughter disappeared May 19, 2009, while waiting for a bus.

"I feel totally disheartened," said the 51-year-old man. "They (authorities) use a disheartened policy É they said the girls ran away with their boyfriends É They don't do investigations, and we, the parents have to do it."

Castillo has knocked on all the possible doors to ask for help. Although the authorities' lack of action wears him out, he said he won't give up.

"They don't understand that as parents, we are desperate," Castillo said. "When somebody tells me 'I saw your daughter,' I run to that place and spend hours looking for her."

Castillo said that in the neighborhood where he lives (Francisco y Madero) at least three other girls have disappeared in similar circumstances. All of them were heading Downtown, he said.

Last July, state and federal police forces conducted an operation in Downtown looking for missing women in bars and restaurants. As a result, they arrested more than 1,000 people, but just one reported missing person was rescued. The majority of the arrested people were freed in the following weeks.

Some social activists such as Imelda Marrufo, a lawyer and activist from la Red de Mujeres said the police operation was a media spectacle and not a real response to the claims of hundreds of desperate parents.

Castillo is convinced that behind the disappearance of his daughter there is a human trafficking network and some other organizations as Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa agree with that hypothesis.

"There is a pattern in many of the disappearances," said Ortiz. "In January this year we filled a lawsuit for human trafficking in a case in which we were able to identify one of the several groups that could be involved in this situation."

Ortiz fled from Juárez after receiving several death threats against her and her family. María Luisa (Malú) Andrade, legal director of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa, was also threatened after her house was burned. She also fled Juárez.

One of the biggest difficulties faced by those who have lost their daughters is that disappearance is not qualified as a crime, which means that it can't be prosecuted.

"The only thing that they can do is to file a report (of missing person), but the authorities are not obliged to make an intensive search," said Ortiz.

For her, the most concerning is that the cases of missing women continue to grow and the magnitude of the daily violence of the city has taken away the attention to this problem.

"The authorities should recognize the magnitude of the problem and develop campaigns to prevent this trend from continuing," she said. "A campaign would help many parents when looking for their daughters. Many parents don't know what to do but the authorities don't want to recognize that the cases continue."

Always waiting

Every night, the neighbors of Lucy Muñoz join her at her house to pray for Nancy Iveth's return.

During the week, Muñoz goes out to handle fliers with the picture of her daughter. Some days, her family and friends accompany her to hang some big billboards (mantas) asking for help in finding her.

She said that she has become more courageous. "In the beginning I was afraid but now I feel anger and courage."

Between her housekeeping activities and taking care of her three other children (ages 14, 7 and 5), as well as Nancy's baby, Muñoz finds the time to continue looking for her missing daughter.

"I'm always thinking of her," said Muñoz. "There is not one single day in which I don't think of her."

               Please keep these mothers, daughters, sisters, wives in your prayers


  1. mexico...truly the devil's playground.

  2. If I could have but one prayer answered in my life time, it would be that the New Cartel de Juarez take a special interest in at least, stopping the continuing abductions of these young girls. This cartel has vowed to clean up the kidnapping and extortion in Juarez, and I believe they will. I certainly hope that if they made an effort to stop the abductions of young women, they would have the support of the entire city. And probably much more. They "are" the ones that can do this.

  3. Yet another sad fact of living in a lawless country. People bash Calderon? How can they, Mexico has been a no mans land for hundreds of years, ITS NOT JUST DRUGS,its a society of corrupt abuse of anything and anything to extort,steal,swindle money, this system is being challanged for the first time ever and the resistance to change is suprisingly signifigant. If there was law and order in Mexico hopefully these abductions/murders could be stopped.

  4. To the Parents in Mexico: YOU ARE NOT SLAVES. It is YOUR duty to protect your children, not the police's or the state's.

  5. the Juarez cartel has let this go on for years their aware of all this. Linea members have covered up and participated in the disappearnce and murder of women in J-town. that's another reason to hate these pieces of shit even more. Hope they go through all of Carillo's family and make him feel pain.

  6. This has been going on for a long time. In 2004 Los Tigres recorded a corrido about this "Las Mujeres de Juarez". There must be some kinda cult or something in Juarez. I think the cartels are to busy fighting each other to get mixed up in this now. But who knows? Chapo's fat ass likes them young so lets blame him and Calderon for this too... I don't think there's a shortage of prostitutes in Mexico. There must be some other sick shit behind all this.

  7. @7:32AM

    No doubt about that, I also believe there is much more to this story than we know. Are they being pimped out in a different area of MX?

    Man, this story makes my stomach turn. For all you hear about Mexicans loving to fight, one would think that neighborhoods would make some sort of mini-militia. You see guys that you don't know coming in with guns? Cap 'em on the spot - no questions asked. There is no chance in hell that the military stops all this carnage - none. And people are fools if they think otherwise.

    For a country rich in history and war, it's so disappointing that the minimum only is being done. The American Revolution started along the same lines - people finally had enough and said "enough is enough!".

    To the families of the missing, you are in my thoughts daily.

  8. The Juarez Cartel was in it the whole time.. Will the new one do it too? Very likely..

  9. Its American's that go into Mexico to do their sick fantasies and kill/kidnapped young innocent female's. Why is it that it only happens in border town? Specially in the city of Juarez.

  10. It is sad to say, but it is not just the Cartels and gangmembers doing this. There is a huge problem with alcoholism in all areas of Mexico. I remember hearing stories from female cousins and some of there friends while visiting. Some of them even with new born babies in there arms, trying to get pulled into stores, being chased after, and having all kinds of grotesque obscenities yelled at them. I got the impression that a vast majority of the men in Mexico are perverts and don't respect anything, not even there own family members. So although alot of these missing girls are due to organized crime. Alot of it is just sick individuals acting out on there fantasies because they know that none of the law-enforcement agencies are going to give two shits about the females anyway and just blame it on the cartels. Sad, but true.

    1. They are the kind of men that participate in these organizations. Still it's the issue of buman trafficking that must hold our main focus Aeylias Lopez

  11. @10:44AM,
    You are what's wrong with Mexico! Where are you coming up is Americans responsible for the murder and kidnappings of females in Mexico? Typical of an ignorant Mexican, who thinks their countrymen can do no wrong..blaming everybody else (United States) instead of looking inward. If you can't admit that Mexico's justice system is broke and corrupt than you deserve nothing better. What a complete dumbass!!

    1. We do not factually know who is doing this and must consider everything. Mexicans Americans or someone else. We must find and consider actual evidence. Aeylias Lopez

  12. @10:44 AM,
    What!? You can't be serious, please tell me you don't believe that crap (Americans are behind these kidnappings). Where's your proof and why would Americans want to cross over into a foreign country, especially into the murder capital of the world Juarez, to commit murder/kidnappings in place they are not familiar with..even if you are a Mexican/American entering into would stick out like a sore thumb, the people notice everything and can detect strangers or foreigners no matter how well they blend in..

  13. Its Americans who do it?Do you actually believe that shit,this is more important than the USA v Mexico shit,fuckin grow up.Yes its happening in Mexico,to your women,by your men.Fuckin cartels,police,lone men,drunken gangs,take your pick,point is.What is being done about it?Is it still going on?Anyone caught doing this shit,should be burned on the spot,yes burned.Unite,buy fuckin guns,get a vigilante group together,they are popular in Mexico,but this one would be righteous.Protect your women and daughters from animals who need to be killed on the spot.No room for half measures.Kill them.

  14. @ 8:58

    This is a real trajedy and the victims are not forgotten. Unfortunately. it's probly not a stretch to think that the lack of investigative resources and the high level of corruption and incompetence in law enforcement are making it worse. Predators are going to migrate to target rich environments with least resistence. The chaotic environment in Juerez most certainly is attracting predators from the US and other parts of Mexico where woman & girls can be abducted with little public fanfare and knowing that whatever heinous act they inflict on thier victims they have slim to no chance of ever being caught.

    I feel sorry for honest Mexican familes too poor to escape the violence in Juerez. Banning the ownership of fireams by civilians is simply an insult as they can't even protect themselves.

    And no foreseeable change on the horizon. Mexico, your government is not going to save you. How depressing..

  15. First time I heard about this is when I read 'Daughters of Juarez". They covered the theory of an American (foreigner) who was a serial killer. The guy they thought was doing it was an American but was also Arab (I think, maybe German?), and he couldn't have been the one killing hundreds of girls. One of the girls in the book said that she had been picked up by the police, and while she was being tortured they showed her a book of many girls being tortured and raped. They had obviously done this before and had 'trophy' photos of what they have done. Another girl that got away was abducted and raped by some bus drivers. That was the first time I had ever heard how dangerous Juarez is. I was disgusted by the stories then, and I am still disgusted to this day. Do none of these monsters have any kids of their own?

    On another subject, I was listening to some of the interviews from the people protesting in 'Occupy Wall Street. These kids have no clue what evil is out there. Many saying that they should "abolish money, and the crops, oil, and water should be shared with everyone". Besides these idiots having no clue that money doesn't grow on trees, they seem to be blind to the evils of the world that are a stones throw from our boarders. We hear of the evils of the Muslims and Middle East, but these guys are beginners compared to what the Mexicans are doing to their own people. Hundreds of mutilated females scattered in the deserts around Juarez, and no one knows who is doing it? Bullshit. There is more to these evils, and people are keeping their mouths shut out of fear. God be with those parents, kids, and loved ones of these victims. Maybe someday they will have not vanished in vain.

  16. El chayo is alive.

  17. There has always been speculation that "some" of these murders were committed by US citizens. Davis Parker Ray, The Toy Box Killer lived 60 miles from Juarez in Truth of Consequences, New Mexico. Most of his victims were out of Albuquerque, New Mexico but there was some testimony that he did go to Juarez in the 90s. David Leonard Wood was a prolific serial killer in El Paso but his crimes were in the 80s and there was no indication he did any in Juarez. El Paso has a large halfway house for sex offenders that parole to home towns has been refused. It is not uncommon that the offenders cut their monitors off and slip across the border. That would be some examples of US citizens committing these crimes but still, only a possible few. Abdul Latif Sharif was the first arrest for the early crimes. He was a sick Egyptian chemist US citizen deported from the US to Mexico after committing murders and rapes in the US. Mexico tried to make him the scapegoat for all the crimes. Even crimes committed after he was incarcerated.

    Juarez, like a popular article was named is "A Serial Killers Play Ground." You have hundreds of thousands of people coming there to get to the US for a better way of live. Nobody knows them and they are perfect targets for anyone to abduct and do what they want. Perverts do thrive there. Cocaine and feelings of invincibility was robust through most of this time too and the rich have been blamed for much of this. There is lots of allegations that police officers did some of these crimes and there is plenty of evidence to back it up.

    Because of the "war on Drugs" since 2006, the spot light has been taken of this monstrous atrocity. It is growing and human trafficking for sex slavery is getting huge. It is huge in the US too, do a search. It is basically ignored. The numbers are escalating and because many of the victims are from far away, I would even say most do not get reported. Organized criminals are exploiting these young innocent victims right under our eyes. This is just like the kidnapping and extortion. It is an unexpected consequence of the war causing organized crime to make money to supplement foot soldiers for the war. The cost of this war on the citizens is unconscionable. It is without conscience. It is as if nobody cares.

    God bless these little girls. For sure, the ones that are dead are at peace in a wonderful place. God bless the ones that are living and may they find escape.

    I ask the most powerful organization in Juarez to stand. To stand solid to stop these unacceptable crimes. You know who you are, lead the way.

    1. After watching the Discovery Investigation channel documentary program regarding "The toy box killer": David Parker Ray, located 60 miles away from Ciudad Juarez, then there is fact evidence that this American citizen could have commited lot of abductions and then torturing killing Mexican girls at Ciudad Juarez border. The caravan trailer where David Parker Ray commited all kind of attrocities could be driven very easy to the El Paso border and then abducted the young Mexican girls at Ciudad Juarez. Fortunately for the american authorities this serial killer jailed for longer than 200 hundred years died by a heart attack. How convienient!! Avoiding an internacional affair. You don't have to be Einstein to consider this fact: 1) a bloody American serial killer. 2) living and working 60 miles away from Ciudad Juarez border. 3) Hundred of Mexican young girls abducted and then killed.
      In the lake close to Parker Ray home police found a body of a poor American girl killed by Parker Ray and a whole open desert to place more bodies. This bastard went to hell remaining silence of his attrocities. How convienient!!

  18. There has been an average of about 250 reported missing girls a years since 1993. Many of the families report tremendous harassment from the police when they report their missing. You cannot report a missing person for 3 days there and they report that the police harass them during that time. Mexico wants to minimize these numbers to save face. A lot of the victims know nobody in the area therefore no one knows they are missing. Some suspect for every missing person reported, there could be as many as 5 to 10 that go unreported. I guess what I am trying to say is that the total number of victims could be 5 to 10 times higher than the number listed in the article and on record.

    The International Human Rights Organization that many on this site think are meddling idiots have been on this for years. They are doing their job with bringing these crimes to international attention. They took Mexico to international court and forced them to pay compensation to some of the victims families for wrongs done during investigations. It was a huge step. It also forced Mexico to change the 3 day law about reporting missing persons.

  19. its so funny and fuck up that the richest man in the world lives in the most violent backward corrupt court system and police in the world

    And BTW its is the duty of the police to clean up their country if there not capable of doing that then the army does the job which they are not doing so well, next on the cartel war list with each other nuclear/chemical warfare.

  20. RE: Juarez,devils playground..... Many years ago a Public Television Documentary on the missing women showed how drug dealing power brokers would show up in parties wearing necklaced nipple areola skinned parts of the women breast as a show of power. This was done with the full knowledge of city's many police in charge this is the reason the investigations never got anywhere; Satanist of the city were running the place.

  21. I totally agree with Capo a huge amount of mexican men have alcoholism n drug problems and have no respect for women they are `machistas' but there a large number of americans who cross over to juarez looking for sex w young girls who were prob. Victims of kidnappings....if you don't. Fucking believe it just go to a truck stop in el paso w a cb radio and you'll see all these fat white truckers trying to cross over do you think they wanna go to juarez to read the bible?..americans are to blame for the drug war too...cartels are just fighting to supply americans hunger for illegal drugs but since none of this shit is happening in the us yetmost mericans simply don't give a fuck!!!

  22. I dont care that these cartels sell drugs but they are kidnapping women and murdering innocent people thats what pisses me off these punk motherfuckers will get whats coming to them

  23. It is a shame to see to many kidnapped people in Mexico, but hopefully after the initiative of President Felipe Calderon to fight the criminals head on and to combat corruption will bring security back to Mexico.

    In the other hand I was wondering what is happening to BB I don't see to many news articles anymore and I don't think Mexican criminals are on vacations. I see more thing going on in the forum.

    Do you guys need reporters?

  24. @5:51PM,
    Damn your an idiot! If the subject matter we are talking about wasn't so serious I'd be laughing at your ridiculous comments! Truck drivers attempting, as you say, to cross-over into Juarez for sex is a far cry to committing murder you dumbass! How fucking retarded are you people! Your going to sit here and accuse and blame Americans for these killings and kidnappings..unbelievable!! We all know, what the fuck is going on in Juarez, Mexico and who the majority of the people are committing these crimes! and it is not Americans (stupid fucks)! Jesus, the proof has been said many times on here..take your pick: corrupt police working for the cartels, the street gangs working for the drug cartels, and some sick deranged Mexican males taking advantage of the chaos in Juarez!

    BTW poster's not Americans hunger for drugs fueling this war you dipshit! More like the greed and selfishness of Mexicans destroying their country all in the name of the almighty dollar! I know it's easier for you to blame the US because your simple mind can't handle the truth!

  25. 5:51 PM...The truck drivers are being shuttled in vans driven independently which shuttle them to massage parlors or bars with rooms within for the prostitutes to give them service. The shuttle drivers charge a fee, assure safety, and gets a kickback from the bar or parlor owner then bring them safely back. The truck drivers like to overnight in El Paso for this convenience. Truck drivers are rough looking, and yes they are sometimes fat, but they are not going to Juarez to kill little girls. They like the prices and the beautiful Latinas. That is not a bad combination and this is an area of their economy that has also been devastated by the cartel wars.

  26. @11:51pm

    You sir, can not be helped - it's good to see you are busy blaming America for your problems though. I'm sure you passed Logic 101 with flying colors!

  27. And also who is running the whore houses? and driveing the so called fat truckers to the whore houses? Could it be the innocent mexicans?


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