The body of 18-year-old Debanhi Escobar, who was found dead in Monterrey, Mexico two weeks after she went missing in April , will be exhumed later this month so that her remains can undergo a third autopsy.
Authorities are still trying to find out the facts around her death. Her murder shocked Mexico, and shone a light on the number of murdered and missing women across the country and the woeful response of both state governments and federal authorities to respond to such crimes.
Escobar’s body will be exhumed on June 30, and a new autopsy will be carried out to compare with two others that were carried out following her death and prior to her burial, Mexico’s Deputy Secretary of Security, Ricardo Mejía said yesterday in a press conference.
“The new analysis will be held by a group of medical experts to confirm the past forensic results and integrate everything to the investigation file,” Mejía said.
The first and official autopsy made by Nuevo León’s state authorities 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 suggested that the teen suffered sexual abuse and was “repeatedly beaten.”
Mario Escobar, Escobar’s father, requested the latest independent autopsy due to his distrust of the government version of events.
When Escobar’s body was first found inside an abandoned cistern at the motel Nueva Castilla, 13 days after being reported missing by her family, state authorities said she accidentally fell in and drowned.
When Escobar was buried late in April, her father Mario Escobar said she was already “in very bad shape.”
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.
In the last four years, hundreds of people have been killed, kidnapped, or disappeared in towns along the “highway of death” where Escobar was last seen, activists told VICE World News.
Just weeks before Escobar went missing, 26-year-old Yolanda Martinez disappeared on March 31 on the outskirts of Monterrey, close to where Escobar was last seen. Martinez left her home after breakfast for a job interview and remains missing.
The number of people registered as disappeared in Mexico exceeded 100,000 this year, according to a United Nations report. More than 98 percent of those disappearances happened between 2006 and 2021.