Three tourists quickly found dead, but thousands remain missing

When two Australian brothers and an American friend drove down from San Diego to Mexico’s northwest coast last week, they rode the refreshing waves that make Baja California a popular destination for travelers from around the world. It was.

But as soon as he arrived in the Mexican city of Ensenada, Callum Robinson’s Instagram posts about his surfing adventures stopped. The group no longer responds to calls or text messages.

His mother said in a social media post that he and his brother Jake never showed up to the Airbnb they had booked, and appealed to anyone who saw her two sons for help.

Mexican authorities said Sunday that the bodies of three tourists with gunshot wounds to the head were found at the bottom of a well and identified by their families.

Authorities said the men died in a botched carjacking and the suspects were captured within days of their disappearance. Many more people are under investigation.

It was a tragic but somewhat quick resolution to a case that received international attention.

But for many local Mexicans, the swift response by authorities to locate and arrest the Robinson brothers and American Jack Carter Road is a sign that tens of thousands of missing persons cases have been going on for years. It seemed unusual in this country. remains unresolved.

The government announced in March that about 100,000 people were missing in Mexico, but the United Nations says this may be an undercount.

Adriana Jaén, an Ensenada-based sociologist who provides legal, psychological and logistical support to searchers, said, “Apart from high-profile cases like this, authorities don’t immediately launch searches.” It’s very difficult to start.” Their missing loved ones.

Mexican federal and state officials tend to claim that violence levels have declined, despite conflicting official data. Local authorities themselves have been implicated in disappearances; in Baja California, an Ensenada police officer was involved in a disappearance. was recently accused With the disappearance of a man. And we lack the resources to investigate.

So if an incident seems to be getting extra attention, it’s noticeable.

“The message we receive as we work on these issues is that some lives matter and others don’t,” Jaén added.

According to reports, there are currently more than 17,300 missing person investigations underway in Baja California. government data The information was provided to Elementa DDHH, a human rights organization that investigates disappearances in the state.

In many cases, it is unknown whether the missing person has been found. If you are a victim of a crime. If so, whether anyone was arrested. According to the government’s recount of missing persons discovered last year, in some cases even basic information to begin a search is missing.

“We don’t know exactly how many people are missing and how many have been found,” said Renata Demichelis, head of Elementa DDHH in Mexico. “The authorities won’t tell us.”

However, the available data provides a hint at the scale of the problem.

In 2017, state prosecutors opened approximately 760 disappearance investigations in Baja California. In five years, that number has more than tripled, According to Elementa DDHH.

“This is an ongoing phenomenon and it is growing exponentially,” Demichelis said, adding that several factors are contributing to the disappearance crisis in Baja California, including drug trafficking, internal displacement, immigration and gender violence. He added that this is contributing to the deterioration of the situation.

State Attorney General María Elena Andrade Ramírez said in an interview that prosecutors have so far ruled out the possibility that the killings of the Robinson brothers and Mr. Lord were connected to organized crime groups. .

The people in charge reportedly tried to seize the tourist’s pickup truck. When they resisted, the man pulled out a gun and killed them.

“This attack appears to have occurred in an unexpected and circumstantial manner,” Andrade Ramirez said. “They took advantage of a sighting of a vehicle in a secluded area outside where they knew there were no witnesses.”

At a press conference this weekend, a reporter asked Andrade Ramírez whether he needed to be a foreigner in Baja California for state authorities to act as quickly as they do with missing tourists. Asked.

“Every investigation has its own process,” the attorney general responded. “And sometimes you have to pay attention to every detail to achieve a good result, which takes some time.”

After the victims’ families identified their bodies at the morgue on Sunday, local resident Adriana Moreno said she felt conflicted emotions.

“I’m really glad it was found so quickly. That’s my joy and satisfaction,” said Moreno, 60. She has been searching for her son Victor Adrian Rodríguez Moreno and two employees of the importer since 2009. was abducted Located in northern Coahuila.

“But it’s been 15 years since my son disappeared and nothing has happened,” Moreno said. “I feel like there are levels of importance for missing people.”

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