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The unguarded lot where the murder suspects are believed to have buried victims' remains. The unguarded lot where the murder suspects are believed to have buried victims' remains.

Inattention to chain of custody in serial femicide case worries advocacy group

Vacant lot where remains are believed to have been buried is guarded only by police tape

A women’s advocacy organization has criticized authorities in Ecatepec, México state, for their alleged inattention to the chain of custody in the case of the couple who confessed to murdering 20 women.

A vacant lot where the couple allegedly disposed of their victims’ remains is guarded only by bright yellow police tape. The newspaper Milenio visited the site in the Jardines de Morelos neighborhood and found women’s clothes and shoes strewn around the property.

It was evident that no effort had been made to preserve the scene and maintain the chain of custody. It was the same at home of the couple, who were arrested last Thursday.

The president of a women’s rights advocacy organization warned of the “high risk” that the Jardines de Morelos crimes will not be processed as femicides.

“The lack of attention by the authorities to the chain of custody has caused deficiencies in many cases. I am almost certain that [the  crimes] will not be prosecuted as femicides, but only as homicides,” said Xóchitl Arzola.

Juan Carlos N., 34 and his wife Patricia N., 38, are being held for the murder of 10 women, although Juan Carlos has confessed to killing at least 20.

One of their neighbors told Milenio that they had filed a formal complaint against the couple over six months ago because of foul-smelling water running from the couple’s property.

Neighbors also thought the couple’s comings and goings were strange. At times they were seen walking with a baby carriage but instead of a baby it carried a sack.

When the two were arrested last week they were pushing a baby carriage in which human remains were found.

Residents fear that the couple belonged to a larger criminal organization because similar events have happened before in other areas of Ecatepec.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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