For eight years the body of Irma Edith, a woman who has disappeared since 2012, was buried in a mass grave in Culiacán, despite the claim and suspicion of his family that it was the same body that in October of that year the police authorities had located, together with two other people, on the beaches of El Tambor, in the municipality of Navolato , Sinaloa, Mexico.
Irma Edith’s family asked the Justice Prosecutor’s Office in Sinaloa to exhuse her body, but two unfortunate «mistakes,» according to María Isabel Cruz Bernal, president of the Guerreras Hound Search Collective, caused the whereabouts of the missing woman to be prolonged.
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Since April 2012, Irma Edith has lost communication with her family. At the time of her disappearance she was accompanied by a friend, who on October 9, 2012 was located with no semi-buried life on the beaches of El Tambor, Navolato, where the bodies of a man and a woman were also located.
According to María Isabel, Irma Edith’s Family repeatedly asked the State Prosecutor’s Office (formerly sinaloa’s Attorney’s Office) to dig up the body of the second woman accompanying Irma Edith’s friend, but they did not listen to them.
«They were told that the body buried in the mass grave was not hers, that Edith was walking around, that she was warm, and that one day she would return, but they did not listen to them, and they did not dare to do the exhumation of the body of the woman the family claimed,» Maria Isabel said.
A press release from the Sinaloa Prosecutor’s Office, issued on Tuesday, revealed however that on a couple of occasions the «genetic profiles of the remaining two bodies were developed, seeking a match with the DNA of Irma Edith’s family».
The first was on 27 March 2013, when the Public Prosecutor’s Office Agency of the municipality of Navolato requested such profiles from the then Attorney General’s Office of the Republic (PGR).
«As of 5 June 2013, an opinion on forensic genetics prepared by the then PGR was sent, warning that no correspondence was found when conducting the confrontation of the genetic profile of the sample, being stored in the database for further confrontations.»
Then «on December 9, 2013, staff of the Agency of the Public Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Enforced Disappearance of Persons, received authorization from the family of Irma Edith for the extraction of new biological samples for the development of genetic profiles, with institutional collaboration with the PGR».
«On 30 May 2014, an opinion on forensic genetics was received from the PGR, reporting that genetic profiles were entered for comparison, with no positive result until that date.»
Despite the two negatives, Irma Edith’s family never gave up and followed her own pesquisas. It was until 2018 that they approached the Search Collective Hounds of Sinaloa, just at the time that María Isabel and other members of the organization, without being lawyers, began with the review of the cases reported to the State Prosecutor’s Office.
«It is where I noticed two small mistakes, as the Prosecutor’s Office (of Sinaloa) calls them, that the first confrontation was with the body of a man and the second with the body of a woman who was not the same as the family asked for,» said Maria Isabel.
«It took us almost two years to ask for this exhumation, until talking to the Prosecutor there was this exhumation, in which we asked to be present and to be observers to see the precarious conditions in which the bodies of our missing are found in the mass graves.»
It was on October 28 that there was the exhumation of the remains that the family always claimed, and this Tuesday the news broke that it was indeed Irma Edith.
«If the family had given up and had not maintained their demand, Edith’s body would surely still be there,» said Maria Isabel, who argues that much of the missing who are currently searching are in the mass graves across the state.
He commented that in culiacán’s mass grave alone, Sinaloa, where Irma Edith’s body was located are there 650 unde identifiable bodies.
«We are talking about a single mass grave, but in the state there are many other pits of this kind. We think there could be a lot of our missing.»
The activist, whose son Yosimar García Cruz disappeared in 2017, said that in the case of Irma Edith they do not rule out bringing a complaint against the ministerial authorities for the negligence committed.
«Now the family is in the duel they haven’t had. Today they were handed the remains. Maybe something’s done criminally, because it’s not worth it that they were walking and looking for so many years and they’ve been through all this. Damage repair must be comprehensive,» he said.
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