The 18-year-old girl who disappeared and was found 13 days later in a motel cistern in Monterrey (Nuevo León) will be exhumed more than a month after the events. The body of Debanhi Escobar, whose death has become a symbol of the terror of gender violence, of the disappearances and murders of women in Mexico, will undergo a new autopsy. They will be new forensic reports that resolve the flaws of the first one —on which two opinions were established— and now, with the support of the federal government that has assumed part of the investigation, the cause of her death will be precisely established. Escobar was buried on April 23, but since the authorities found her body on the 21st, the young woman’s death has become a headache for state institutions, which carried out an investigation plagued with inconsistencies and irregularities. recognized by themselves. These days, after strong media pressure and national outrage, they have promised to solve the first step: how she died. And the case is back to square one.
The death of Debanhi Escobar put the State of Nuevo León in the spotlight as a corner to the northeast that brought together a tragedy that plagues the entire country. Before Escobar disappeared, on April 9, María Fernanda Contreras, 27, had been found dead, after her family denounced the inaction of the Prosecutor’s Office to find her. With the media pressure caused by these two cases, more were made known, such as that of Yolanda Martínez, 26, who had disappeared on March 31 and was found on May 8. Dozens of women have disappeared so far this year, others have been murdered, and authorities have repeatedly insisted that these were isolated events, accidents, or suicides.
The crisis of women unaccounted for and murdered knocked on the doors of the state government of Samuel García. The national debate pointed north. And the press conferences devoted to detailing the progress of the investigation of the Debanhi case, oriented to a possible accident of the young woman, opened a schism in the already weakened credibility of the institutions. Her death also became a symbol of the rampant impunity that plagues the country, where more than 95% of crimes go unsolved.
The first autopsy that the forensic doctors performed on Escobar, Omar León Maldonado and Alan Ortiz Montellano, established a cause of death that no one else has refuted: deep skull contusion. A strong blow to the head caused a respiratory arrest. What that necropsy omitted was added by another forensic doctor, requested by the family, who reviewed the first opinion, the images of the young woman’s body, X-rays and other medical tests: the young woman was dead when she arrived at the cistern.
This second opinion, added to the investigation folder and to which EL PAÍS had access, added something fundamental: “Violent homicidal death.” Therefore, the possibility that she had fallen into the cistern on her own was ruled out by a specialist. This information was in the hands of the Prosecutor’s Office since April 25, but the hypothesis of the accident was still running.
The second opinion added that the young woman had suffered sexual abuse, a fact that the first doctors did not include in their opinion, despite the fact that the body presented evidence of it, according to the second doctor. In addition, Escobar not only received a blow and this she could not cause herself, since she presented severe trauma in different parts of the head, “intense, repeated and with different angles of impact”, which must have been caused “by another person ”.
After the details of the second forensic opinion were released, the federal authorities promised to offer a review of the autopsy and its two conclusions by a forensic team from Mexico City. This Thursday, the authorities have concluded that the exhumation of the body is necessary to definitively determine what they should have concluded more than a month ago.
The case about the death of Debanhi Escobar has returned to the beginning. Despite the fact that the federal government, through the Undersecretary of Security, Ricardo Mejía, offered intelligence support two weeks ago and the commitment to clarify the case, there is no public progress on what happened on the morning of April 9. No arrests, no line of investigation pointing in a direction other than the accident. They hope that the body of the young woman, who spent 13 days in a water tank and has been buried for more than a month, offers more answers than they have found outside that tomb.
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