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Here’s how a hand-drawn map led to a mass gravesite in Mexico

Relatives of the disappeared were given a sketch that ended up taking them to an unmarked area in Veracruz where more than 250 human skulls have been found.
17 Mar 2017 – 05:23 PM EDT
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This is the clandestine gravesite in Mexico where more than 250 skulls were found

Mothers of the disappeared marched in the center of Veracruz to demand their children be found alive.

 

1

May 10, 2016

During the demonstration, two strangers handed them a sketch drawn by hand, which pointed to the location of a hidden cemetery.

 

2

The map showed the route to an area marked with crosses. Next to it appeared the word “cuerpos,” or "bodies."

 

3

Houses

Train tracks

Bridge

VERACRUZ

San Leonardo Street

The families of the victims had already suspected there could be a mass grave. “The map we were given was confirmation," said Lucía Díaz, coordinator of Colectivo Solecito, a group formed to search for the disappeared.

On March 14, Veracruz prosecutor Jorge Winckler confirmed that 250 skulls had been found in the Colinas de Santa Fe estate and said it could be one of "the largest mass graves in the world.”

Mothers involved in Colectivo Solecito analyzed the map and began to plan a search brigade. They coordinated with the Federal Police, who would accompany them. They also requested the support of authorities of the state of Veracruz.

 

The area shown on the map is located about 8 miles (13 km) north of the city of Veracruz.

 

Gulf of Mexico

Mass graves

 

8 miles (13 km)

Veracruz

Mexico

City

Mothers of the disappeared marched in the center of Veracruz to demand their children be found alive.

 

1

May 10, 2016

During the demonstration, two strangers handed them a sketch drawn by hand, which pointed to the location of a hidden cemetery.

 

2

The map showed the route to an area marked with crosses. Next to it appeared the word “cuerpos,” or "bodies."

 

3

Houses

Train tracks

Bridge

VERACRUZ

San Leonardo Street

The families of the victims had already suspected there could be a mass grave. “The map we were given was confirmation," said Lucía Díaz, coordinator of Colectivo Solecito, a group formed to search for the disappeared.

On March 14, Veracruz prosecutor Jorge Winckler confirmed that 250 skulls had been found in the Colinas de Santa Fe estate and said it could be one of "the largest mass graves in the world.”

Mothers involved in Colectivo Solecito analyzed the map and began to plan a search brigade. They coordinated with the Federal Police, who would accompany them. They also requested the support of authorities of the state of Veracruz.

 

The area shown on the map is located about 8 miles (13 km) north of the city of Veracruz.

 

Gulf of Mexico

Mass graves

 

8 miles (13 km)

Veracruz

Mexico

City

Mothers of the disappeared marched in the center of Veracruz to demand their children be found alive.

 

1

May 10, 2016

During the demonstration, two strangers handed them a sketch drawn by hand, which pointed to the location of a hidden cemetery.

2

The map showed the route to an area marked with crosses. Next to it appeared the word “cuerpos,” or "bodies."

 

3

Houses

Mass graves

Train tracks

Bridge

VERACRUZ

San Leonardo Street

The families of the victims had already suspected there could be a mass grave. “The map we were given was confirmation," said Lucía Díaz, coordinator of Colectivo Solecito, a group formed to search for the disappeared.

On March 14, Veracruz prosecutor Jorge Winckler confirmed that 250 skulls had been found in the Colinas de Santa Fe estate and said it could be one of "the largest mass graves in the world.”

Mothers involved in Colectivo Solecito analyzed the map and began to plan a search brigade. They coordinated with the Federal Police, who would accompany them. They also requested the support of authorities of the state of Veracruz.

 

The area shown on the map is located about 8 miles (13 km) north of the city of Veracruz.

 

Gulf of Mexico

Mexico

City

Mass graves

8 miles (13 km)

Veracruz

Mothers of the disappeared marched in the center of Veracruz to demand their children be found alive.

 

1

May 10, 2016

During the demonstration, two strangers handed them a sketch drawn by hand, which pointed to the location of a hidden cemetery.

2

The map showed the route to an area marked with crosses. Next to it appeared the word “cuerpos,” or "bodies."

 

3

Houses

Mass graves

Train tracks

Bridge

VERACRUZ

San Leonardo Street

The families of the victims had already suspected there could be a mass grave. “The map we were given was confirmation," said Lucía Díaz, coordinator of Colectivo Solecito, a group formed to search for the disappeared.

On March 14, Veracruz prosecutor Jorge Winckler confirmed that 250 skulls had been found in the Colinas de Santa Fe estate and said it could be one of "the largest mass graves in the world.”

Mothers involved in Colectivo Solecito analyzed the map and began to plan a search brigade. They coordinated with the Federal Police, who would accompany them. They also requested the support of authorities of the state of Veracruz.

 

The area shown on the map is located about 8 miles (13 km) north of the city of Veracruz.

 

Gulf of Mexico

Mexico

City

Mass graves

8 miles (13 km)

Veracruz

After assessing their options and raising the money they needed, 90 mothers of the disappeared began to search for graves. The families sold clothes, asked for money and drained their savings. Search teams cost "a lot of money, hundreds of thousands of pesos," said Volga de Pina Ravest, lawyer for the Solecito Collective.

This is the area where the mass graves appeared
Although near the place where the remains appeared there is now a group of houses, almost a decade ago, the area was a vacant lot.
SOURCE: Google Earth | UNIVISION

They began digging in mid-August 2016. The hand drawn map led them to a macabre discovery. Seven months after the excavations began, corpses are still being recovered. Even today they receive little help in unearthing and identifying the dead. Although 253 skulls have been found, only two bodies have been identified.

The state of Veracruz is bankrupt, after ex-governor Javier Duarte allegedly misappropriated about $4 billion (80 billion pesos).

An expert consulted by Univision explained that each genetic test costs about 25,000 pesos (more than $1,000). On top of that, other tests and legal requirements are required to fully identify a body.

Veracruz prosecutor Jorge Winckler reiterated this week that there is no money to perform the genetic tests.

The Solecito Collective mothers have not given up and are seeking federal assistance to identify the bodies.

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