Members of the search collective, dressed for protection against the coronavirus. Members of the search collective, dressed for protection against the coronavirus.

Mothers continue to search for missing children, calling it essential activity

'If we don't do it no one will,' says a member of Sinaloa collective

Searching for missing loved ones is an essential activity, according to a group of women in Sinaloa who have not let the coronavirus crisis put a halt to their efforts to locate their children.

The Culiacán-based collective Sabuesos Guerreras (Warrior Sleuths) continues to carry out searches for their missing children despite authorities urging Mexicans to stay at home to slow the spread of Covid-19.

One of the collective’s members is María Isabel Cruz Bernal, whose son, a former municipal police officer, disappeared without a trace more than three years ago.

Once a week, Cruz dons gloves, a face mask and a protective suit before leaving her Culiacán home to go out in search of her son, Yosimar García Cruz. Other members of the 370-strong Sabuesos Guerreras, all desperate to find their missing children, do the same.

“We used to go out three times a week, now just once,” Cruz told the newspaper El Universal.

“Fifteen or 20 of us used to go out, now just half. We understand what the authorities are asking but the search mustn’t stop because if we don’t do it, no one will,” she said.

Cruz said that the members of the collective feel a strong need to search for their missing children, explaining that it helps to calm “the void” in their stomachs.

“Even though we go out protected, sometimes we forget that the coronavirus exists; we are already like the living dead – what can the virus do to us if the worst plague already inflicted the worst pain on us: the disappearance of our children,” she said.

Cruz said the “warrior sleuths” are currently not receiving any help from state authorities in their quest to find their loved ones, explaining that they were told that personnel at the Sinaloa Attorney General’s Office (FGE) are currently too busy to offer assistance due to the coronavirus.

When the collective’s members found human bone remains in a Culiacán community last month, FGE experts told them to store them in a bag and hand them in later for analysis, she said.

Although the women are breaking quarantine to look for their children, the authorities haven’t told them to put a temporary halt to their search efforts, Cruz said.

“If at some time they’re going to restrict our right to go out, they should explain to us what the dynamic will be so that they look for our family members,” she said.

“Hopefully they’ll let us keep looking because if we don’t, who will? Who is going to look for them if the authorities are very busy with other matters? That’s why we tell [the authorities] that if you’re not going to help us, don’t get in our way.”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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