Tuesday, June 18, 2024

7 of 14 missing from Texcaltitlán are found alive

Seven out of nine family members kidnapped after a deadly shootout last month in México state have been found alive, the state Attorney General’s Office (FGJEM) announced Tuesday night.

An anonymous call tipped the prosecutor’s office to the location of the three women and four minors — in the village of Raíces, about 20 km outside of the state capital of Toluca on the slope of the volcano Nevado de Toluca.

Residents of the town of Texcaltitlán reportedly rose up and attacked members of the Familia Michoacana cartel in December, in a clash that killed 14. (Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar/Cuartoscuro)

All seven underwent preliminary medical evaluations and were in good health, FGJEM reported.

The children (ages 1, 4, 13 and 14) and the three women (19, 23 and 36) are members of the Trinidad Huicochea family. Two men from the same family, a 67-year-old and a 34-year-old, are still missing.

All were abducted shortly after a Dec. 8 violent clash between residents in the small community of Texcapilla and alleged members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel in the surrounding municipality of Texcaltitlán. 

Reportedly, the residents and farmers were fed up with paying extortion money, so they confronted a group of criminals. The ensuing clash on a soccer field left 14 people dead and seven others injured. The deceased reportedly included 10 members of the cartel and four members of the community.

Shortly after the confrontation, 14 local people were taken hostage. One media source opined that their release would be contingent on the handing over those responsible for killing the criminals, although authorities didn’t confirm that.

The nine members of the Trinidad Huicochea family were kidnapped at a cartel roadblock, officials said.

More than a month later, they were reportedly found at the back of a chapel in the municipality of Zinacantepec, State of México, thanks to a Jan. 16 anonymous call.

“Thank you very much, Virgin of Guadalupe, thank you very much. I only ask that you continue to protect my dad and my brother,” an overjoyed relative wrote on social media, according to the newspaper El Universal.

The military were deployed to reinforce security in the area. (Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar/Cuartoscuro)

The rescue operation was a joint effort handled by the National Defense Ministry (Sedena) and the municipal police of Zinacantepec. Media reports made no mention of any arrests.

The search for the seven people still reported as missing will continue, with a reward of up to 500,000 pesos (US $29,000) for information leading to their location.

The Dec. 8 clash has left an emotional scar in the village of Texcapilla, where people remain on edge over possible retaliation.

Schools in the area resumed classes last week after being closed following the incident and students were being offered psychological and emotional support. School directors have set up direct communications with Sedena, the National Guard and other agencies in hopes of preventing any incident in area schools.

With reports from El Universal and Latinus

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