“If they think we’re going to stop looking, we’re not going to do it”: this was Teresa Magueyal, the mother looking for her missing son, who was murdered in Mexico.

Darío Brooks  BBC News Mundo May 4, 2023

In a country with more than 100,000 disappeared, Teresa Magueyal Ramírez was one of the tenacious “mother seekers.” This is how we know the women who go out daily to visit places around cities and towns in Mexico to look for some trace of children or relatives whose whereabouts are unknown.

Magueyal was trying to find Jose Luis Apaseo Maguyal, the son who left his home in April 2020. They lived in San Miguel Octopan, a small town on the outskirts of Celaya in the central state of Guanajuato.

In that same town, Teresa Magueyal was murdered on May 2nd. Armed men on a motorcycle reportedly approached the woman and shot her while she was riding a bicycle. It was almost noon when the crime occurred, a few steps from a school.

“She was a very cheerful lady. Although he was sorry for her missing son, she was an example to follow. Our day was bright,” Rosa María Alves, spokesperson for the collective of mothers seeking “A Promise to Fulfill,” tells BBC Mundo.

That organization and other human rights defenders condemned Magueyal’s murder. The United Nations office in Mexico demanded justice and protection for people searching for missing loved ones. In Guanajuato alone, six search mothers have been murdered in recent months.

Reporting that there is a detainee in this case, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Thursday: “It is unfortunate that a mother who is looking for her son is murdered, and it hurts so much.”

To read the complete article:https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-65475073

Lorena Ramirez, the Mexican woman who found her missing daughter after 27 years

Marcos González Díaz

BBC News World correspondent in Mexico

April, 17th, 2023

According to official figures, Mexico has more than 110,000 missing people.  Cases with happy endings represent a small ray of hope for many families that could be reunited with their loved ones. This happened to Lorena Ramírez, whose daughter Juana disappeared no less than 27 years ago and who, just over six months ago, she embraced again. Despite all the time that passed, the woman says she never lost hope of finding that three-year-old girl and that she never thought she was not still alive.

And although now in her 50s, she looks to the future with optimism; tears inevitably run down her cheeks as she recalls her life without her daughter and not knowing what would become of her.  After their reunion last year achieved significant repercussions in Mexico, Ramírez shared her story with BBC Mundo about her relationship with her daughter months after reuniting and how she plans to recover their lives. This is her testimony.

Until October 1, 1995, we were an average family. Our daughter Juana was born three years earlier and was a joy. She grew up like any baby. At home, she was very talkative, but outside, she was very sullen with people. She wouldn’t leave with just anyone. I remember everything about her. She loved singing “De América yo soy” and loved fried pork chops. But it was a very short stage… You don’t know what can happen. But we enjoyed her three years as much as possible.

That day in 1995, we decided to walk in the Chapultepec forest in Mexico City with my husband, Juana, my other two older children, and my husband’s relatives. We went to the zoo, sat down to eat, and my children played… Everything went normally.

But when we were about to leave, my husband would bring my young daughter by the right hand and me by the left. We made a circle to say goodbye to other people, and I momentarily let go of my daughter. It turns out that my husband did it too, and I immediately saw that she was gone. I don’t know if it was a mother’s hunch, but I assumed at the time that my daughter had just been stolen.

To read the full article in Spanish:


Photo by Marcos González / BBC

Brave rave women lead the search for the disappeared in Mexico.


Their work has unearthed not only bodies but also the horror and impunity in justice. If Andrés Manuel does not go to the graves, the graves come to him – shouted that day the trackers of Guanajuato.

A truckload of dirt arrived at the Zócalo esplanade in Mexico City and dumped the contents in front of the National Palace. The collectives Hasta Encontrate, Una Luz en el Camino, and Una Promesa simulated the discovery of one of the more than 2,200 clandestine graves located during the current federal administration. The protest occurred on December 13, 2021, in front of the National Palace, office and home of the President of the Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. With this act, the group of trackers became representative of the more than 108,000 families that have disappeared person in the country. Many daily take shovels and pickaxes to search for bodies of missing persons for governments to identify them. “The indifference of the authorities leads us to go out and investigate and put ourselves at risk,” exclaims Karla Martínez of the Hasta Encontrate collective.

Women, not the Mexican State, lead the actions to find their relatives. In 2022, only ten prosecutors’ offices of the entities documented 358 clandestine graves. Of this total, they located more than half. This investigation carried out in partnership with Connectas, found that the findings of clandestine graves are the culmination, mainly, of the search and investigation efforts of the collectives and not of the authorities. Their work has earned them multiple aggressions and forced displacements.

This crisis has surpassed the authorities of the three levels of government throughout the country, says Alan García Campos, coordinator of the Legal and Analysis Unit of the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations Organization for Human Rights in Mexico (UN-DH). Last November, UN-DH asked the Mexican authorities to protect the search engines. “Families are strengthened by the authorities’ inactivity, even under great risks. Search is a right, and they have the power to do so, but we must not forget that it is an obligation of the State. It has to be effective but also protected,” warns Garcia.

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“Hasta encontrarles” (“Until we find them”) photography and poetry for the disappeared in Mexico

 EFE Noticias March 25th, 2023

The exhibition “Hasta encontrarles” is nourished by photographs, texts, and poetry to remember the more than 100,000 disappeared registered in Mexico and the women searching for their relatives and loved ones amid desolation and hope.

The exhibition, at the University Cultural Center of Tlatelolco, in the center of the Mexican capital, brings together photographs of the entire search process of the mothers. The images, taken by photographers Cecilia Lobato, Alex Martin, and Juan Pablo Muaño, portray the members of the collective, entirely women, but Rodríguez assured that they are not the protagonists.

“We are here for our missing relatives, not for us,” said the Returning to Casa Morelos representative, who carries out field searches, accompaniment of victims, and awareness campaigns in schools and churches.

The photos portray this group of women in search brigades, mass graves, or marches in memory of their disappeared and show their pain, indignation, hope, and strength.

“The exhibition brings us closer to the experiences these women have in the search for their missing persons and allows us to talk about everything that should not go unnoticed. We want to counteract invisibility and indifference through these narratives,” said photographer Lobato. And next to each group of photographs, a text written by the mothers, many of them in verse, capture their feelings while searching for their loved ones.

To read the full article in Spanish:

MEX449. MEXICO CITY (MEXICO), 03/24/2023.- Relatives of those disappeared inaugurate the exhibition “Hasta encontrarles” at the Tlatelolco University Cultural Center today in Mexico City. The exhibition “Hasta encontrarles” is nourished by photographs, texts, and poetry to remember the more than 100,000 disappeared registered in Mexico and the women searching for their relatives and loved ones amid desolation and hope. EFE/Jose Mendez

Stigma, indifference, and bullying affect children of disappeared in Mexico

February 18, 2023, 08:06 PM


More than 100 thousand investigation files in Mexico are open for cases of disappearances. The stigmatization of society, bullying, and indifference from teachers and institutions, they do not listen to children by putting them in the spotlight, according to a publication issued this week in Guadalajara by the Justice Center for Peace and Development (Cepad).

During the presentation of the publication “Infancias sonoras; nuestras voces; nuestros derechos,” Sofía Virgen, a member of the psychosocial area of Cepad, explained that children and adolescents want to feel heard and protected from the forced disappearance of their loved ones. Children expressed that they need schools to understand their situation and to stop stigmatizing missing persons.

“We need them not to judge us and not to judge the people who disappear,” “we need to feel safe, not to be afraid,” “I want the school to take care of me, for the teacher to understand that sometimes I cannot concentrate,” “that they do not speak badly of the missing people in the news and on the street,” “that they support us in the marches,” are some of the phrases expressed by those who participated in a workshop. The publication comes amid Mexico’s disappearance crisis, which last year surpassed the historical figure of more than 100,000 people not located since records began, with the state of Jalisco at the top.

Virgen said that minors know their relatives’ situation but feel they need to be heard by adults even though they want to learn more about the problem and assert their opinion. “When I asked them what they needed: (they answered) to listen to me. Sometimes they didn’t even need answers, just knowing that their questions are valid, their emotions, that they have doubts and (want) to be seen, that they are there and that they are also living this,” she said.

Rosa María Quezada, the mother of a missing person and grandmother of one of the girls participating in the publication, pointed out that schools are often indifferent to children who often feel harassed by their peers or the teachers, affecting their school performance. Rocío Martínez, the coordinator of the psychosocial area of Cepad, said that one of the challenges is to hear children by society and educational institutions, in addition to recognizing the impact that the disappearance of a loved one has on their lives and those who care for them.

To read complete article in Spanish:


NGOs demand effective mechanisms to help families of missing migrants in Mexico

By Edición CAMBIO 22 February 25th, 2023

Human rights organizations and relatives of disappeared migrants demanded in southern Mexico the enforcement of the law and compliance with the recommendations of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances. In an interview, the representative of Mesoamerican Voices, Emanuel Bran Guzmán, said that “the law has had many problems. It is not working in all the states or federal institutions.”

The organizations, including Mesoamerican Voices, spoke out for more efficient laws as a priority for vulnerable groups and an end to the violation of the human rights of migrants and their families. The list includes the identification, notification, return, repatriation, and dignified restitutions according to cultural beliefs, a professional search for DNA recovery, and an investigation of the different massacres of migrants.

Likewise, they demanded the homologation of the Law of the Disappeared and the creation of the Citizen Council of the State Search Commission in Chiapas. They also called for effective and coordinated operations with unique forensic identification mechanisms. At the same time, the families demanded the effective operation of the external support mechanism for relatives of missing migrants from Central America and Mexico.

This was presented during the Central America, Mexico, and the United States regional conference for the rights of disappeared migrants and their families in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. The meeting took place at the facilities of the Samuel Jtatik Museum, with organizations such as Melelxojobal, Armadillos Rastreadores Ensenada, Colectivo Oaxaqueños Buscando a los Nuestros, Cofamifear-Honduras, Committee of relatives of deceased and disappeared migrants in El Salvador, among others.

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Relatives of the disappeared protest on the Monterrey-Laredo highway. They placed posters to support the search for their missing loved ones in the states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.


February, 12th 2023

A group of women members of the collective “Todos Somos Uno,” representing relatives of victims of disappearance on the Monterrey-Laredo highway, which connects Mexico with the United States, placed posters to support the search for their loved ones. The event was held this Sunday in Monterrey, Nuevo León, where they accused the indifference of the states’ authorities.

Casandra Sánchez, one of the members of the collective, said that they found difficulties in following up on the investigation files of their cases because they are in the hands of the Government of Tamaulipas. She specified that, as the events occurred in the territory of that entity, it is difficult for them to travel, and they are at risk of being victims of a crime. She demanded the support of the authorities of Nuevo León to expedite the cases.

“The former governor (Jaime Rodríguez Calderón) met with the Attorney General, and we all agreed that the investigations would be transferred to Ciudad Victoria, with no progress,” she said. The woman is looking for her husband, Brandon Issac Hernandez, who worked as a trailer driver and disappeared five years ago.

Margarita Tolentino, who is looking for her sons Manuel Antonio, Michael Foxworth Tolentino, and her godson Bruno Castañeda, said that the current governor of Nuevo León, Samuel García, only received them at the beginning of his term, but that was all.

To read complete article in Spanish:


Data cross-checking improves searches for missing persons in Mexico. About 50 thousand possible coincidences have been achieved.

El Siglo de Torreón January 29th, 2023

Due to the massive crossing of data between government information databases, about 50,000 possible coincidences have been achieved in the National Registry of Missing and Unlocated Persons (RNPDNO), according to Javier Yankelevich, an official of the National Search Commission.

It is an almost archaeological work, said the head of the Search Operations Directorate in an interview broadcast by the project “Where the disappeared go” obtained by the newspaper Reforma, including varied records, which is giving already results. “I think it’s essential to understand that part of the disappearance problem in Mexico is a data problem,” he said, “there are, various difficulties in crossing information”.

He explained that many databases that could contain information about missing persons do not have a dictionary — a key document for understanding what the database includes — and are not standardized, so they cannot be easily shared between institutions.

The team led by Yankelevich, consults multiple sources and databases – ranging from papers scribbled by gravediggers to institutional computer systems with millions of records – to find missing people, dead or alive.

Indications have emerged from different sources. Since the creation of the project in 2020, the Mass Graves Module has been crossed with the RNPDNO seven times, and thus more than 800 coincidences have been identified. This is only the beginning, he says, of a case-by-case evaluation process.

To read complete article in Spanish:


Nosomosexpedientes.mx ‘We are not files’, an auxiliary platform for relatives of missing persons.

Redacción Aristegui Noticias 18 Jan, 2023 16:19

The digital portal works as a “guide or a manual” for people with missing relatives, said María Luisa Aguilar, of the Prodh Center. The Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center presented a digital platform called Nosomosexpedientes.mx to help relatives of the disappeared.

The digital space was promoted by members of collectives, the deputy representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (OHCHR), and developed by VIRK. At a press conference, María Luisa Aguilar of the Prodh Center described the digital portal as a “guide or a manual” for relatives searching for disappeared persons who follow up on their complaints to the Prosecutors’ office.

The digital portal seeks to promote the search and investigation actions of the families of disappeared persons in Mexico with legal tools and valuable information so that they can follow up on their investigation files. The platform aims to help family members and provide them with practical guidance on the actions they can take before the law enforcement agencies in Mexico. It is also the result of the questions and experiences that different groups searching for disappeared persons have shared through the organization’s popular education spaces.

The Prodh Center confirmed that the collective processes driven by families generate the most outstanding results. In this context, Nosomosexpedientes.mx aims to help promote important actions that must be carried out in any disappearance investigation, making creative use of digital tools available to those who have a mobile device.

To read the complete note in Aristegui Noticias:


Photo: Aristegui Noticias

“Ruido” (Noise) a film that shows what relatives of the disappeared live in Mexico

Editorial ABC news Mexico City, January 12, 2023

The film can be found on the Netflix streaming platform starring Julieta Egurrola. Disappearances in Mexico are an issue that seems to have no end and leaves thousands of families between pain and uncertainty. Because of that situation, Natalia Beristáin wanted to narrate in her film “Ruido” (Noise) the experience of the relatives of all the disappeared.

The film premiered at the Morelia International Film Festival at the end of October, and since then, it has had good reviews.

What is ‘Ruido’ about? The film shows the drama that relatives experience when an enforced disappearance occurs and what they must live through for the authorities to give them an “answer.”

“Ruido” focuses on Julia, a woman desperately searching for her daughter, who disappeared while on vacation with friends. After nine months, the authorities do not give progress in the case, which forces the woman to search for herself. Natalia Beristáin explained that was the reason for filming this movie.

“Having the opportunity to return to the state where we shot the film and introduce the work done not only to all the people who worked on the production but especially to the families that integrate the Voz y Dignidad collective (as well as representatives of five other search collectives from different states of the country) has been one of the most powerful experiences in my professional life. The presentation of the film a few days ago was a powerful reminder of why we made this movie”.

She added: “Mexico is traversed by violent and brutal stories marking the lives of families torn apart by disappearances. From there, we made this film, and we want to expand a noise as attractive and inspiring, as annoying and uncomfortable, that weaves ties within society to change a national reality that aggravates us. It is about keeping in mind the power of the collective in the search for truth, justice and memory.”

To read article in Spanish: