The Chihuahua government will build a 50,000-square-meter mega-cemetery in Ciudad Juárez for the burial of unidentified and unclaimed bodies.
The State Forensic Interment Center will be located on the state government-owned San Isidro-Zaragoza reserve in the northern border city and include facilities capable of storing up to 800 bodies prior to burial.
Construction of the cemetery and facilities that will include an ossuary, or bone room, and six refrigerated morgue chambers will cost 50 million pesos (US $2.65 million).
Chihuahua Attorney General César Augusto Peniche said in an interview that the cemetery is needed because unidentified and unclaimed bodies are currently buried in regular cemeteries where the corpses of crime victims are sometimes not managed as they should be.
In the state-operated mega-cemetery, there will be “complete control” both in the burial and exhumation of bodies, he said.
“We intend to comply with the highest standards,” Peniche said, adding that the International Red Cross participated in the process to design the new cemetery.
“We intend to have a dignified space, to manage remains professionally and [to have] strict control on the entry, location and removal [of bodies],” he said.
State government statistics show that there were 2,410 homicides in Chihuahua in the first 11 months of 2019 of which 1,402 – or 58% – were in Ciudad Juárez.
Between October 2016, the month Governor Javier Corral took office, and October 2019, state authorities buried 818 unidentified bodies and 207 corpses of people whose identities were established but went unclaimed nevertheless.
Of the former number, 468 bodies – or 57% of the total – were killed in Juárez.
Homicides in the border city located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, increased 61% from 771 in 2017 to 1,245 in 2018 before rising an additional 12.6% last year even before data for December murders was included.
Source: Reforma (sp)