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Mexicans search for missing kin in jails, hospitals

March 14, 2020 12:27 PM

MEXICO CITY:The families of nearly 80 of Mexico's more than 61,000 people listed as missing have visited the state of Jalisco to join a tour of jails, homeless shelters and psychiatric hospitals in search of their lost loved ones.

This latest edition of the "caravan" launched in 2014 has been made possible by support from the National Search Commission and Jalisco's Missing Persons Commission, Efe news said in a report on Friday.

Every day, participants visit detention centres, shelters, drug treatment clinics in psychiatric hospitals, where they show photos of their missing family members to inmates, doctors, patients and administrators in hope of finding information to aid them in their search.

The coordinator of the caravan is Maria de la Luz Lopez, whose daughter, Irma Clarivel, disappeared in 2008.

Lopez began the search for her daughter as one of the volunteers who unearth remains from clandestine graves in the mountains of their home state of Coahuila.

"For three years, we spent practically all week in the sun, scratching and pulling out remains. I thought that my daughter was waiting for me and that she was perhaps in prison or in a psychiatric hospital and I was wasting time giving bones to the authorities and they just mollify us with empty promises."

Lopez views the current expedition in Jalisco as already a success, noting that in just the first three days, the group encountered information regarding her daughter and 16 other missing people.

Ruth Gumercindo travelled from Tamaulipas state, bordering Texas, to look for clues as to the whereabouts of her son Marco Antonio, kidnapped in 2008.

"I am not sure he's alive. I need to be realistic. A criminal group took my son and my faith is yes (he is live). But I am prepared. Whatever the truth, I want to find him and I will find him," she told Efe.

Similarly, Beatriz Torres came all the way from Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, to seek traces of her son Manuel, who was last seen in 2016 in Autlan, Jalisco.

In a report last month citing authorities, the BBC said that more than 60,000 people have disappeared in Mexico since the start of the country's war on drugs in 2006.

On top of this, more than 31,000 people were murdered in the country last year alone.

While drug cartels and organised crime groups were the main perpetrators, security forces are also blamed for deaths and disappearances, the BBC report said.

Around 53 per cent of those who disappeared were between the ages of 15 and 35, and 74 per cent were men, according to the authorities.

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