From the search to the discovery of clandestine graves in Morelos

This is how the VI National Search Brigade for Missing Persons located at least ten clandestine graves in Morelos, Mexico.

From the search to the discovery of clandestine graves in Morelos
The discovery of clandestine graves in Morelos. Image: Once Noticias

The VI National Search Brigade for Missing Persons concluded its work in the state of Morelos. It is located in an extermination camp with at least ten clandestine graves. It also denounced two sites where the State Prosecutor's Office had already removed human remains, where the families found evidence that was not processed by the experts of the ministerial institution.

Amidst shouting, pulling, and intimidation from local government officials, the families managed to show the country a space under the wildflowers of Morelos. At least a dozen bodies waited months or years for the light to touch their bones. The first three discoveries were less than 43 centimeters deep. The clue to the search behind those locations were lime stains in the middle of a tezontle mine. Small white spots in the red soil showed where there might be a clandestine burial, as most of the bodies located were in holes filled with lime.

Women from 17 to 73 years old shoveled relentlessly against the ground, however, the mine floor was so compacted that they could not go down more than 50 centimeters with a pick and shovel. A backhoe was requested to work on this property. The brutality of the site could not be uncovered by the strength of the searchers alone and that was clear to them. In this ex-mine, the test pits were no longer to look for construction material, but to find human remains.

The trenches were up to four meters deep, it was on Tuesday, October 19, and it was at those levels where they found a femur, in the next trench they found another one, a meter further on clothes wrapped in lime, and at the end of the day one more femur. These findings were in addition to the three graves located the day before. During the time in which the families located three bodies, the prosecutor's office was only able to process one skeleton that had several bones from the thorax, two legs, and the skull.

"If we want them to return home we will have to look for them as they were buried, otherwise, they will not be able to return to the families where we are missing them."

By Wednesday, the brigadistas arrived at the site, ten minutes after the only municipal police patrol in charge of guarding the area. The searchers began to prepare the tools, while some were already reading the soil to see where they would begin to dig, but on the way, they found a femur that had been moved from the graves located the day before. Complaints reached the experts. They, they said, did not know anything because they were not in charge of this work and they would not do anything about it to return it to the place where they had been notified of the finding the day before. That day there were no new findings.

The next morning the mothers were already working under the harsh sun, one of them located one more clue, a lime plaque, she did not want to dig anymore because that was enough for the state experts to inspect the place. However, the forensic experts had not arrived, and no one from the Prosecutor's Office was at the grave at the agreed time. The officials arrived after two o'clock in the afternoon, but forgot their work equipment and said they had to return at least to buy gloves to work. They began their work after four o'clock in the afternoon, seven hours later than had been agreed with the Brigade.

By seven o'clock at night a storm hit the mine, and water ran in small streams. The mothers wondered if this would not affect the skeletons that had been located. While the ministerial officials ran to their cars to take shelter from the water drops. The mothers placed stones and earth on the surgical material that protected the "treasures" they had located. When the rain ended, the site appeared to be empty, however, the prosecutor's office and its staff returned in the early morning to work all night on the property, without the supervision of the families and the media. This unleashed the brigadistas' mistrust and they demanded to check the worksite the following day.

By Friday afternoon, the mothers confirmed that there was still unprocessed human remains inside the grave where the experts were working and denounced the mishandling of evidence. That afternoon the women located one more piece of evidence in addition to the previous eight. On the last day of the search, October 23, they found other skeletal remains about 20 meters to the west of the graves that were located one next to the other, in a straight line running north to south.

"The phenomenon of disappearance is a social phenomenon with multiple roots. The interpretation of that place reflects a social behavior that shows a reality of violence in the state," said prosecutor Cornejo.

Prosecutor Alejandro Cornejo Ramos, when questioned by Once Noticias about the safeguarding of the graves and the work of the state experts, responded that leaving evidence at a scene "is part of the risk when there is a large number of skeletal remains in one place". Saturday night fever reached the National Brigade for the Search for Disappeared Persons, some mothers danced and sang at a get-together organized by people in solidarity with the movement, carnitas, and refreshments for all the women, who is just one week showed the whole country the terror that is kept under the Mexican soil.

Source: Once Noticias