Murder victim Silvia Vargas and her father. Murder victim Silvia Vargas in 2007 and her father, 10 years later.

10 years on a father still waits for justice

Only one person was convicted in the murder-kidnapping. Seven others remain in custody

Ten years after the kidnapping and murder of his daughter, Nelson Vargas is still waiting for justice.

Eighteen-year-old Silvia Vargas disappeared in September 2007 but it wasn’t until December of the following year that her remains were found in the southern Mexico City borough of Tlalpan.

Her abduction became one of the country’s highest profile criminal investigations after her father — Mexico’s former top sports official — went public with her case in August 2008, an unusual move in that many victims’ families try to negotiate with kidnappers in private.

Vargas made pleas for information about Silvia’s disappearance, offered rewards, had billboards erected around Mexico City and begged her kidnappers to release her.

But in the end, it was all in vain.

The Federal Police detained a total of nine men in relation to the crime, alleging that they belonged to a kidnapping band called Los Rojos. Those detained included Vargas’ personal chauffeur, Óscar Ortiz González, and his brother Raúl, who together allegedly developed the extortion plan against the victim’s father.

But, more than 10 years later only one of the men arrested, Martín Enríquez Monroy, has been sentenced.

Enríquez was responsible for guarding and attending to Silvia Vargas while she was being held and, according to her father, led authorities to the location of her remains.

Seven others are still in custody but have been neither convicted nor sentenced for the crime. One member of the gang, Isidro Solís Medina, also known as “El Chilo,” was released.

In an interview this week with the media group Milenio, Vargas condemned authorities for taking so long to bring the case to a conclusion and urged them to sentence the others so that he could “go calmly,” presumably referring to his own mortality.

The main reason for the delay is that the suspects claim they were tortured when they were captured so due process was violated, according to the guidelines of the Istanbul Protocol.

Vargas said he was incredulous that more bureaucracy was holding the case up.

“Now with the Istanbul Protocol they’re going to see if they were tortured 10 years ago; for me it’s something that doesn’t fit in my head,” he said.

“. . . Los Rojos have been recognized since the year 2000 . . . they’re people that are perfectly identified and [still] they don’t sentence them.”

Vargas also criticized the release of Solís Medina, although he said he couldn’t be certain he was directly involved in the crimes committed against his daughter.

“They released one of the criminals. I’m not aware that this man was involved in my daughter’s kidnapping but he was part of the gang and . . .  [was involved in] organized crime,” Vargas said.

Others implicated in the crime remain at large.

A nurse who gave Silvia Vargas an injection to anesthetize her so the kidnappers could cut off one of her fingers to accompany a ransom demand was never found. The injection was determined to have been the cause of her death.

A brother of Óscar and Raúl Gonzaléz was also never detained despite a warrant being issued for his arrest, while an Argentine national who allegedly rented the safe house where Silvia Vargas was held prior to her death was also never located.

Vargas said he had been “privileged [but] with a lot of pain” because while authorities responded to his inquiries at all times “they haven’t done things correctly.”

Mexico is the worst country in Latin America for impunity, according to a recent study by a university in Puebla, and was ranked fourth worst in the world among the 69 countries it analyzed.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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