Unidentified Bodies in the Mexican Context

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Maria Fortuna
Laura Corrales
Alan Robinson
Roxana Enríguez Farias
Nicholas Marquez-Grant


The discovery of clandestine graves has become a recurrent event during the last ten years in Mexico, and there could be more than roughly 2000 distributed all over the country (Guillen et al. 2018). Mass graves specifically are less well-known, reported, and addressed; they are located in municipal or state cemeteries which house unidentified bodies and of which there is no official census. An estimated 26,000 bodies are considered unidentified (SEGOB 2019a), and every year in Mexico City alone almost 500 bodies are sent to the mass graves in cemeteries. Comprehensive efforts in forensic science are required to mitigate the high percentage of unidentified bodies and coordinate the correct burial and registration of bodies in mass graves. The ongoing humanitarian crisis and the complexity of the context require that investigators look at overlaps between cases of disappeared persons and unidentified bodies, and between searches and identification.

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