Yolanda Martínez, a 26-year-old woman who has been missing in the Northern Mexican city of Monterrey for six weeks, has been found dead on a piece of wasteland, according to authorities.
After a long search by her family, Nuevo León’s state government announced that Martínez’s corpse was found on May 8 in a wasteland, her body “face down.”
A couple of canisters marked “toxic” were also found next to her body, Deputy General Attorney Luis Enrique Orozco said in a press conference. There were no official statements on the cause of death as of Tuesday morning.
Martínez was reported missing on the last day of March after leaving her grandmother’s home in the Juárez municipality on the outskirts of Monterrey to attend a job interview, her father, Gerardo Martínez, told VICE World News.
“She left her grandmother’s home with a job application in her hands. We assume she went to apply for a job around that area,” Martínez said. “She was seen in at least two different locations that same day.”
Martínez’s disappearance gained attention after the campaign to find Debanhi Escobar, a teenager who went missing after Martínez in the same city last month after getting into a taxi.
Escobar was later found dead inside a hotel water tank. An autopsy revealed that she didn’t drown—as the state government initially claimed—but that she died from a blow to the head. Escobar’s case sparked rage all over Mexico from activists demanding justice for the thousands of cases of disappeared or murdered women.
Yolanda Martínez’s father said that state governor Samuel García was trying to minimize his daughter’s disappearance after he said that the young woman “left home of her own accord,” looking to downplay her disappearance.
“I don’t trust the authorities anymore. We need more videos or evidence from my daughter’s last movements to start looking for a new route she could’ve taken and to know what really happened to her,” Martínez said.
After Nuevo León authorities announced that Martínez’s body had been found, activists and residents of Monterrey gathered in front of the state’s Attorney’s General building on Sunday afternoon to protest what they claim is a lack of action by the government to stop the killing of women. More women are reported missing in Nuevo León than in any other state in Mexico.
Protests have continued this week, with hundreds of mothers outside the same building continuing to hold posters and banners of their missing or dead daughters aloft. Mexico celebrates Mother’s Day on May 10.
Seven women go missing every day in Mexico. There are more than 95,000 people on the country’s missing persons register.
“The main factor behind women disappearances is impunity. Authorities are not enforcing the protocols of missing persons, the search protocols are not being activated on time, and all of this is helping criminals to keep disappearing women,” Claudia Muñiz from the Nuevo León’s Feminist Assembly told VICE World News.
“We started to get nervous when they found Debanhi, but we were still very hopeful that Yolanda would turn up alive,” Martínez said. “Now we are just completely devastated.”