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LATIN AMERICA

Mexico City nightclub missing: 10 out of 13 bodies identified

Families want independent analysis of remains amid mystery over extra corpse

The site outside Mexico City where police discovered a mass grave in which some of the Heavens case missing have been found.
The site outside Mexico City where police discovered a mass grave in which some of the Heavens case missing have been found.EFE

Relatives of the 12 people who were abducted from a nightclub in Mexico City last May confirmed that 10 out of 13 bodies recently found in a mass grave have been identified.

After a three-hour meeting with authorities, families of the missing were informed of the results of DNA testing by a team of forensics, said Julieta González, whose daughter Jennifer Robles was among the victims.

However, González said that she and other relatives will not be fully convinced of the true identity of the bodies until an independent forensic team conducts its own analysis. Families of the missing clubbers feel that ever since the day of their disappearance from the after-hours Heavens on May 26, neither the federal nor the local governments have done their jobs well, and that the investigation has been slow and erratic.

Meanwhile, the Attorney’s Office remains silent on the issue. Its latest statement is from last Friday, when it said that one of the bodies had been identified with 100 percent certainty through DNA testing, and four others partially identified because of tattoos and surgical material. There is still no official list of the 10 identified victims.

The bodies were found on Thursday in a wooded area outside the metropolitan area of the Mexican capital. The attorney’s office said law-enforcement officers stumbled on the mass grave during a weapons search. Families of the missing do not believe this version of events, although for now they are focusing on demanding an independent forensic report and the arrest of the killers.

Relatives of the victims feel that this was the work of a powerful mafia group

In the three months since the mass abduction, the police have only arrested one of the 17 people who allegedly forced the clubbers inside cars as they walked out of the establishment at 8am. Two partners who own the Heavens club have also been arrested, while the body of a third was found reduced to ashes. Two additional individuals were detained near the mass grave, for unexplained reasons.

City authorities have insisted that the Heavens case is an isolated incident and that it does not mean the capital has problems with organized crime, as do other parts of the country. But relatives of the victims feel that this was the work of a powerful mafia group. Mexico DF Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said it was the result of a gang dispute over control of the drug trade in the city’s downtown nightclubs.

And there is still one other mystery to resolve: the existence of a 13th body found in the mass grave. Ever since the disappearance, the city attorney has been talking about 12 missing persons, yet federal authorities have unearthed 13 corpses. This last victim could be Alan Francisco Daniel Menchaca Bazán, 31; families of the missing man had already warned that he might be part of the group of abductees, but local authorities have been investigating his disappearance as a separate case and believe that he has no connection with the Heavens kidnapping.

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