There is not just one but two trailers full of unclaimed bodies in Guadalajara, the former head of the Jalisco Institute of Forensic Sciences (IJCF) has revealed.
Jalisco Governor Jorge Sandoval Díaz announced Monday the dismissal of forensics chief Luis Octavio Cotero Bernal for his role in the case of the refrigerated trailer full of bodies. It was shuffled around the Guadalajara metropolitan area last weekend, drawing the ire of residents who complained of fetid odors.
But yesterday, Cotero confirmed the existence of a second trailer that was also used to store corpses due to a lack of space in state-run morgues but unlike the first one it was not removed from IJCF facilities.
“I calculate that there were around 250 [bodies] in the two trailers,” the ex-official told broadcaster Imagén Televisión, although he told the news agency EFE the number could be as high as 300.
Cotero said the first trailer was rented by the Jalisco Attorney General’s office (FGE) in 2013 and that it stored some bodies from 2004 and 2005.
The second was rented three months ago to store more bodies after a surge in deaths due to rising levels of violent crime overwhelmed state morgues.
“They were in a hurry to put a lot [of bodies into the trailer] because the National Human Rights Commission was coming and they were going to hide them in the new trailer,” Cotero said.
Upon dismissing Cotero, Sandoval said that the sanction imposed should be an example for all public servants involved in the custody, transportation and handling of unclaimed corpses, adding that he would not “tolerate dehumanizing treatment or alterations of established procedures.”
But in a radio interview, Cotero denied responsibility both for the decision to acquire the first trailer and for ordering it to leave government facilities and be parked in residential areas of the municipalities of Tlaquepaque and Tlajomulco de Zúñiga.
“Who hired it, who pays the rent, who pays for the maintenance of the motor that cools it, all that is charged to the Attorney General’s office,” he said.
“Even though I had [the bodies] there, by law it’s the Attorney General’s office that has the sole and exclusive power [in the matter]. I don’t have the authority to move them anywhere.”