What happened?

Abduction of three young persons in Paracho, Michoacan, Mexico

July 22, 2012 in Paracho, Michoacan. Two psychologists, Diego Maldonado Castañeda (34) and Ana Sánchez Mayorga Belém (30) and Luis Enrique Castañeda Nava (28), youth coordinator of the Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizens Movement) party, were kidnapped from Hotel Santa Fe in the early hours of Sunday July 22nd. So far the police and officials have no answers, refuse to do a physical search and simply give false information based on the testimony of the hotel clerk, who was presented in the hotel at the night of the incident…

The three urban youth traveled from Mexico City to the town of Paracho, in order to lead workshops for children at the Cantoya International Balloon Festival. Finished the workshops on Saturday the 21st, they decided to stay for the rest of the festival. But at that night, an unidentified armed group came to the Hotel Santa Fe and took them away with extreme force.

The hotel closed the very next day for “maintenance reasons.” It wasn’t until Monday, when the victims’ parents started to search for their children, that the police started their investigation.

The information regarding the evidence found in the hotel is varied. some of the experts from the “Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Group of Morelia” found “plenty of blood on the walls.” The news blog PoliticalAnimal.com reported that “a few stains on the bed Ana were found”. Today it is ensured that there were at least four shell casings and blood on the mattress of the bed of Ana was not small. The prosecutors told that there were traces of a struggle: shoe marks and hand prints along the walls, as if somebody tried to anchor themselve. One of the hotel receptionists reported a broken step.

These investigations were conducted on Wednesday July 25th, three days after the youths’ disappearance, and police said first that they did not find evidences of violence.

The hotel manager (under the pseudonym Ricardo Gomez Hernandez) reported that the noise was so great that he was frightened and forced into hiding, and in his first witness said he had not seen anyone. He did not see who came nor didn’t see who and when left!

The news began to spread on July 25th and some articles have since been altered or deleted, especially the ones featuring pictures of Luis Enrique Castañeda with the left-wing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

On July 26th Movimento Ciudadano party members helped the families of the missing youths move to a safer place. Currently it is the families, having come to Paracho to collect their children things from the hotel rooms, who remain steadfast in their search.

Nicholas Zalapa Vargas, Mayor of Paracho, described the incident of triple disappearance as “singular” and added: “This fact does not reflect the reality of life in Paracho, because there are no records of serious or recurring criminal acts. We are living in times of great tranquility.”

Hannibal Guerra, a leader of Movimiento Ciudadano in Michoacan, after relaying that Castañeda Nava, Maldonado and Sanchez were taken by force from the hotel where they stayed, lamented over the deeply rooted terror the region has from organized crime. Hotel employees “had not reported a thing,” until the parents of three youths filed the missing persons report. Guerra demanded that the state government and the municipality of Paracho face the facts and initiate appropriate investigations to locate these three youths.

After four months, the authorities refuse to start a physical search. Members of the Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Group said that to investigate is danger for their lives because the locals surpass them in weaponry. Meanwhile, the authorities have at least five different versions, one from them based on the second official statement of Ricardo Gomez, who now remembers the kidnappers. They were discussed to arguing with youths around an hour and a half outdoors of the Hotel and during this time beat and humiliated them. Now the hotel manager says that the owner of hotel authorised cleanup when the kidnappers asked buckets and rags to clean the blood.

¡NOMASVICTIMAS! is dedicated to monitoring the investigation into this case of triple disappearance. Keep checking back with us for updates.

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