Forensic experts propose the use of new technologies to search for missing persons in Mexico


With 73,218 people missing as of July 2020, Mexico's forensic services are overwhelmed by the country's crisis of violence, which has led relatives of the missing to organize to search, shovels in hand, for clandestine graves where their loved ones may be. The crisis is such that Mexican authorities have admitted that as of last summer they had only located 1,682 bodies in clandestine graves, but were barely able to identify 42%.

The prestigious Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) has presented a series of new technologies to improve the search for missing persons and alleviate the efforts of desperate relatives in the face of the State's shortcomings. These technologies include the use of drones, geolocation, satellite imagery, georadar, resistivity, multispectrometry (which can detect vegetation and minerals), all tools that allow information to be gathered at various distances and that have been used in other fields such as space research, climate, archeology and agronomy.

These technologies have already been used in Mexico, albeit in a limited way, mainly in the case of the missing students of Ayotzinapa. The other major problem is that, outside of academia, local authorities do not have the capacity to process the information obtained with these new technologies. The question in Mexico is whether there is political will on the part of the country's authorities to implement these types of technological tools. The images of local authorities handing out shovels to relatives so that they can continue the search is eloquent and is a sign of the shortcomings of the State.