Sunday, December 3, 2023

166 skulls and other remains exhumed from hidden graves in Veracruz

Authorities in Veracruz have exhumed at least 166 skulls and other human remains from 32 hidden graves located on a property in the center of the state.

Veracruz Attorney General Jorge Winckler Ortiz told a press conference yesterday that during a 30-day search, investigators also found 200 articles of clothing, 144 ID cards and other personal belongings.

He said that he wouldn’t disclose the exact location of the site for security reasons.

Analysis of the human remains shows that the bodies were buried at least two years ago, Winckler said.

Authorities have requested the assistance of the scientific division of the Federal Police to identify the remains and asked families of missing persons in the state to provide DNA samples or any other information that could aid the identification process.

The clandestine graves were first located on August 8 after state authorities received information from an unidentified person about a location where hundreds of bodies were buried.

The site was inspected using drones, probes and ground-penetrating radar and the human remains were found over an area spanning 300 square meters. Another grave is still to be inspected and Winckler didn’t rule out finding more bodies.

In June, members of a group dedicated to searching for missing persons in Veracruz said that more than 300 bodies have been exhumed from hidden graves in the state over the past two years. The latest discovery increases that figure by more than 50%.

Violence in Veracruz rose sharply during the 2010-2016 administration of former governor Javier Duarte, who is now in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges and links to organized crime.

Four former high-ranking security officials and 15 police officers are accused of using death squad tactics to forcibly disappear at least 15 people during Duarte’s governorship.

The discovery of the 166 skulls is one of the largest mass grave finds in Mexico.

It’s not the first time that an anonymous tip has revealed the location of clandestine graves containing hundreds of bodies.

In 2016 and 2017, Veracruz investigators found 253 skulls and bodies in burial pits near the state capital of Xalapa, and 195 bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in San Fernando, Tamaulipas in 2011.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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