Debanhi Escobar, the 18-year-old girl who was found dead in Monterrey, Mexico three months ago, died of “asphyxia by obstruction of respiratory orifices” according to a third autopsy report.
The independent investigation, which was requested by Escobar’s family and the federal government, didn’t specify what blocked her nose and mouth to cause her death. The results were made public during a press conference late on July 18.
Escobar’s body was exhumed in June, two months after she was killed, so independent forensics could do a third autopsy in an attempt to address confusion around her death.
Her murder shocked Mexico, and shone a light on the number of killed and missing women across the country, as well as the woeful response of both state and federal authorities to respond to such crimes.
In Mexico, seven women go missing every day. There are more than 95,000 people on the country’s missing persons register.
Escobar died between three to five days before her body was found in a motel water tank, and showed no signs of sexual violence, according to doctor Felipe Takajashi, head of Mexico City’s forensic service. He spoke at a joint press conference attended by the independent forensics as well as the state authorities from Nuevo Leon and federal experts.
The first and official autopsy made by Nuevo León’s state authorities back in May claimed that Escobar died after accidentally falling into an abandoned water tank. But a second autopsy, produced by independent forensics and ordered by Escobar’s family, contradicted the government’s version of events, and presented evidence that that the teen suffered sexual abuse and was “repeatedly beaten.”
Escobar’s father and the federal authorities requested the latest and third independent autopsy jointly.
“We can now say this was a femicide,” Escobar’s father, Mario Escobar said following the release of the results of the third autopsy this week. “My daughter was a person that wanted to live. She was even using her face mask that night.”
On April 8, Escobar went to a house party with two alleged friends, who then sent her home with a driver. The haunting photo of her, taken by the driver who dropped her on the edge of a federal highway, went viral after she was reported missing.
During the search for Escobar, the authorities found the bodies of another five girls reported missing during the past four months in different places around Nuevo León. Escobar was the 20th woman to be reported missing in only four weeks in the state, which has been host to a bloody war between rival drug cartels.