MEXICO CITY (AP) — A woman who has spent 12 years searching for her daughter in a northern Mexican state bordering Texas said Thursday that the governor has promised to devote resources to thoroughly inspect a site where thousands of bone fragments have been found.
Silvia Ortiz, who is also spokeswoman for Grupo Vida, a group of families looking for missing relatives in Coahuila state, said they plan to resume their search this weekend at the rural site where the fragments were found and meet again with Gov. Ruben Moreira.
The families have been scouring the desert location called El Patrocinio since April 2015, when they first reported their discovery to authorities. At least some of the remains have been confirmed as human, and prosecutors believe the hyper-violent Zetas cartel is responsible.
"They put them in 200-liter drums and they poured diesel on them and left them cooking," Ortiz said. After the fire was out, the bones were broken up and the fragments scattered about, she said.
Ortiz added that government attention to the remains has been sporadic up until now, and that they have never had the resources — personnel or forensic expertise — to collect everything that is there.
Coahuila prosecutor Homero Ramos Gloria reported to the state legislature this week that more than 4,600 bone fragments have been collected from the 26-acre site in the township of San Pedro, outside Torreon, since April 2015. Shell casings and clothing have also been found.
On one visit to the site in May 2015, authorities found three sets of remains in addition to hundreds of fragments, Ramos said. Testing has established genetic profiles for only two bone fragments, both from the same unidentified person, and authorities do not know many people the remains may belong to.