Puebla Governor Miguel Barbosa has fired his security minister and a deputy minister two weeks after the body of a baby was found in a dumpster at a prison in the state capital.
Public security minister Rogelio López Maya and deputy minister for the prison system Alfredo Vargas Quintanilla were dismissed on Monday.
Their dismissals came after a weekend of protests against the Puebla government as anger grows about the case of three-month-old Tadeo, whose body was found January 10 by a prisoner held at the notoriously lawless and overcrowded San Miguel prison in Puebla city.
Nineteen prison employees, including the director and other high-ranking officials, were arrested on Monday in connection with the grisly discovery.
The Puebla Attorney General’s Office said it had obtained warrants for the arrest of the employees, who are accused of a range of crimes related to the incident. It also said it had identified the person who placed the body in the dumpster.
The reason why the infant’s body was taken into the jail has not been definitively established, but the most likely theory is that drugs were hidden inside it.
The sequence of events that led to the baby’s body ending up in a prison dumpster is as disturbing as it is bizarre.
Tadeo, born in early October, passed away in a Mexico City hospital on January 5 after undergoing six operations for congenital intestinal problems.
He was buried the next day at a cemetery in the eastern borough of Iztapalapa but was subsequently exhumed by an unidentified person or people and taken to the prison in Puebla, located approximately 140 kilometers southeast of the capital.
Tadeo’s parents became suspicious when they heard news reports last week about a baby with an abdominal incision who had been found at the prison. The baby’s surnames, written on a hospital bracelet he was still wearing when he was discovered in the dumpster, were leaked to the press and the parents’ fears were confirmed.
The father went to the cemetery where his son had been buried and confirmed that the baby had indeed been removed from the grave.
According to cemetery workers cited by the newspaper El Sol de México, the exhumation and theft of bodies occurs frequently. They explained that there are gaps in the wall that surrounds the graveyard, making it easy for people to enter undetected. The reason why bodies are taken is unclear.
The Mexico City Attorney General’s Office said Monday that Tadeo’s body had been returned to the capital and that authorities would provide support to his parents and pay for funeral expenses.
Personnel from the Puebla Human Rights Commission have visited the San Miguel prison and spoken to staff as part of an independent investigation into the shocking series of events.
Governor Barbosa, who represents Mexico’s ruling Morena party, has come under fire for the poor state of the prison system in Puebla.
President López Obrador on Monday commented on the case, asserting that it was the result of societal decay.
“It’s the rotten fruit of social breakdown. They’re regrettable acts that shouldn’t happen,” he said.