Attorney General’s Office of Nuevo León will hand over Debanhi Escobar case to feds

Four months after the death of Debanhi Escobar, the Attorney General’s Office will hand over the investigation folder of the case to the feds at the request of the parents of the 18-year-old girl.

The Undersecretary of Public Security, Ricardo Mejía, reported this Thursday that the Nuevo León Prosecutor’s Office will file criminal charges against those who obstructed justice at the beginning of the investigation and, once this process is concluded, the Federal Public Ministry will take over the investigation of the girl, who disappeared on April 9 and whose lifeless body was found two weeks later on the outskirts of Monterrey.

After three autopsies and dozens of versions found, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office will finally take the case into their hands. “The Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López Hernández, has already entered into communication with the Attorney General [Alejandro Gertz Manero] to formalize the request for attraction of the Debanhi Escobar case,” the Undersecretary of Security said at the National Palace.

The transfer of the investigation folder occurs on the verge of the 15-day deadline that Debanhi’s father, Mario Escobar, gave the authorities to find evidence of possible people involved in the young woman’s death. The father of the victim rebuked the lack of interest on the part of the State Public Ministry to clarify the alleged femicide of his daughter. “The prosecutor, until now, after 100 days, after we showed them evidence, agreed that now we are going to investigate it as a femicide,” Escobar said Wednesday.

Debanhi’s disappearance after attending a party in the early hours of April 9 and the subsequent discovery of her body in the cistern of the Nueva Castilla motel, which had already been searched by state authorities on up to four occasions, revealed the chain of irregularities in the investigation, errors that cost two local prosecutors their jobs and precipitated the participation of the federal government in the face of the escalation of an angry population throughout Mexico.

Just a month ago, the authorities presented the results of the third autopsy performed on the young woman’s body. According to this latest expert report, Debanhi Escobar died of suffocation. The final report refutes the first cause of death determined by the state: deep head trauma and leaves even more questions about the last moments of the young woman’s life. Faced with the labyrinth of unanswered questions, dead ends, and a growing wave of anger, the federal government has gradually taken more control of the investigation.

Since last May, the Secretary of Public Security offered scientific and intelligence support to “get to the truth.” At that time, Undersecretary Mejía was already considering the possible obstruction of justice by those responsible for the Nueva Castilla motel and the absence of key videos that would help clarify what happened that night. “The videos they had in their possession were not delivered in a timely manner. It was pointed out [by the hotel] that there were no security videos, but eventually, the hotel turned over the videos. Therefore, very valuable days were lost that would have allowed the investigations to advance,” warned the federal official. Almost 90 days later, the Public Ministry of Nuevo León will file a complaint for obstruction of justice, although it has not yet announced against whom.

Debanhi’s death has become a symbol of the disappearance and murder of women in Mexico. Her death has filled thousands of Mexican women with outrage. And while the parents of the young woman are still waiting for the death of her daughter to be clarified, the numbers of femicide in the country continue to rise.

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