In northern Mexico, authorities search for missing women amid spate of disappearances | Inquirer News
Close  

In northern Mexico, authorities search for missing women amid spate of disappearances

/ 11:41 AM April 20, 2022
In northern Mexico, authorities search for missing women amid spate of disappearances

A flyer with information of Debanhi Escobar, an 18-year-old law student who has been missing since April 9, is pictured during a search held by her loved ones and security forces, in Escobedo, Mexico April 18, 2022. REUTERS

MONTERREY, Mexico — More than two dozen women and girls have disappeared so far this year in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, sparking frantic searches among residents who hope their loved ones have not become the latest victims of endemic gender violence.

On Tuesday, Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Garcia said that 26 women and girls have disappeared since the beginning of the year and five more have been found dead after being reported missing.

ADVERTISEMENT

During the news conference in the state capital Monterrey, considered Mexico’s most important industrial city, Garcia said he would increase funding and resources to combat gender violence.

Among the disappeared is Debanhi Escobar, an 18-year-old law student who has been missing since April 9. The last photo of her alive, which has since gone viral, shows her standing on the side of a highway on the outskirts of Monterrey not far from the Federal Attorney General’s office.

FEATURED STORIES

Her disappearance, which came two days after the body of another kidnapped woman, Maria Fernanda Contreras Ruiz, was found in Monterrey, has sparked protests and national attention to the crisis of gender violence and missing people across Mexico.

Mexico has reported 155 femicides – the murder of women because of their gender – in the first two months of this year, according to federal crime statistics. Nearly 25,000 more women are missing nationally.

The disappearances and femicides are part of a broader crisis of violence in Mexico, where annual homicides top 30,000. Since 2006, when the Mexican government declared a war on drug cartels sparking a surge in violence, more than 85,000 people have also disappeared.

Around 10 women are killed each day in Mexico, according to official data, where gender violence regularly sparks protests. Shortly before her disappearance, Debanhi Escobar was among thousands of women who attended a series of nationwide demonstrations against gender violence for International Women’s Day on March 8.

“She went to the feminist marches because she always wanted to help people,” Debanhi’s father, Mario Escobar, told Reuters. “We hope this will be a watershed moment, so no more girls, no more women go missing.”

On Monday, Debanhi’s parents, flanked by heavily armed police officers and search dogs, scoured the grounds of a trucking company near the spot where their daughter was last seen.

Nearby, about a dozen women distributed fliers to passing drivers offering a reward for information about Debanhi’s whereabouts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Maria Rodriguez said she had been volunteering in search efforts every day, enduring sweltering heat and skipping out on recent Easter festivities, because the missing teenager reminded her of the risks to her own 20-year-old daughter, Arlen.

Eying a makeshift shrine featuring a smiling photo of Debanhi, Rodriguez sighed.

“She could be my daughter,” she said.

RELATED STORIES

Mexico hunts for missing children of ‘Dirty War’

Mexico opens new probe into 43 missing students

More than 20,000 missing in Mexico in past 6 years

Mexico IDs human remains as youths missing in Veracruz

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: gender, Mexico, missing people, Violence, Women
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.