The Mix

Juarez murders update

Were the 379+ women killed and dumped along the Mexico-Texas border just a figment of our imaginations? A new report seems to think so.
Thanks to Feministing, I just learned the frightening news that Mexican feds have concluded that "the numerous slayings of women in the border city of Ciudad Juarez in the past decade were not the work of a serial killer, and that the city is not the most dangerous in Mexico in terms of women's homicides."

These "conclusions" were released in a new report yesterday -- "the same day the Attorney General's Office created a new national prosecutor for crimes against women throughout Mexico."

Since 1993, there have been at least 379 young women killed in Juarez. There are countless newspaper and magazine articles about the still-unsolved case (as well as a yet-to-be-released Jennifer Lopez movie).

Until now, the deaths were widely presumed to be the work of a serial killer, or group of killers, because -- duh -- that's the only answer that made sense. The victims had many similarities: the majority were under 18 years old; about 2/3 were students and factory workers from poor backgrounds; and, in more than 70 percent of the victims, "the cause of death...was either asphyxia resulting from strangulation or injuries caused by blows."

Many of the women were kidnapped and subjected to brutal sexual violence before being killed:
Amnesty International estimates that at least 139 of the more than 400 of the victims were sexually assaulted, often 'beyond the act of rape.' The injuries include bite-marks, stab wounds, and other types of mutilation and beatings. ."
There have been a shocking number -- 4,456 -- of women reported missing since the killings began in 1993, but the outrageous new Mexican report concludes that only 47 of those women were actually missing. WTF?

It makes me sick, and very sad, to know that this case is even further from being solved (which just didn't seem possible). It was already shockingly clear that justice for the dead women -- and the saftey of Juarez's traumatized living female population -- was not at the top of the to-do list for Mexican law enforcement. Departmental corruption runs rampant there -- from drug-trafficking cops to, in 2004, former Juarez police chief Hector Lastrabeing getting detained for "attempting to coordinate an adolescent prostitution ring."

Now the Juarez murders will be further neglected, while more resident women continue to live in fear for themselves, their daughters, sisters and friends. And surely more bodies will be found, dumped like trash after being raped and brutalized along the border.
Laura Barcella is AlterNet's front page editor.
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