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Mexico has world record in unresolved kidnappings. Parents obliged to investigate, searching for justice.

After a long effort and struggle, Isabel Miranda de Wallace achieved the imprisonment of the 11 suspected of kidnapping and killing his son in Mexico.

MEXICO – Last weekend, the mexican mother Mrs. Isabel Miranda de Wallace, achieved the imprisonment of the last of the 11 suspected of kidnapping and killing her son, explained in a press conference the challenge of relatives of missing persons in Mexico who are obliged to make inquiries and investigate on their own due to alleged “inefficiency and negligence of the mexican police”.

“The police and prosecutors will not lift a finger. The only thing that matters for them is reducing the number of pending investigations and so improving the statistics . That led mexican officials to declare that there is insufficient evidence and that the case should be archived/closed,” said Eduardo Gallo, president of the NGO Mexico United against Crime, told a report of AFP.

Gallo is an emblematic figure in the fight against kidnapping of citizens in Mexico. In the early 2000’s, he was able to identify and track down the gang that kidnapped and murdered his 25 years old daughter.

Mr. Gallo believes his case and that of Mrs. Miranda de Wallace, who, like he, was even involved in the arrests, are the only cases in which family members have resolved the crimes. However, “most parents do investigate a lot and get much information,” he added.

In Mexico, where it is estimated that 98% of all crimes go unpunished, 51,000 kidnappings were committed in 2008, including the ‘express’ type kidnappings, according to a survey conducted nationwide by ICESI -the Center on studies about insecurity- .

ICESI is trying to meet the vacuum of official information nationwide.

We must also expect that many families have not even reported the crimes because “it is proven that in a large part of all kidnappings a policeman was involved,” said Gallo.

The parents of José Antonio Robledo, an engineer kidnapped in January 2009 in the state of Coahuila (north), gained access to his bank accounts, phone calls and also regularly visit mental hospitals and morgues looking for their missing son. “The authorities sent us to do these things because they say it was easier to get the information as parents. But the prosecution of Coahuila never worked on the case. And then is very difficult to obtain the assistance of the federal police, you must be always pressing them,” said the missing engineer´s mother, Mary Guadalupe Fernandez, told AFP.

José Antonio’s parents even came to meet with self declared members of a cartel of drug dealers who offered help to find him, but the parents rejected that proposal.

Without any suspects nor clues about their son, both parents attended a month ago  a conference with the participation of family members of 200 missing.

“Most also have been doing searches as far as possible, without many means as Mrs. Wallace,” says Maria Guadalupe.

Only in Coahuila, which borders the United States, a humanitarian organization has collected more than a hundred cases of disappearances in the last three years. In these families, “the police asked, ‘What else know you, lady?” or “What do you think we should do?”, this “police negligence” force the parents to take risks, such as Mrs. Wallace, “said Blanca Martinez, director of the Center for Human Rights Fray Juan de Larios in Coahuila, told AFP.

These investigations represnt great dangers to the parents, like the case of Mrs.Miranda de Wallace, who was threatened for displaying ads with great rewards to obtain information or the imprisonment of  those suspected of kidnapping his son in 2005. Innocent people and even the own perpetrators risk retaliation, said Eduardo Gallo. “Many families hire a private investigator and when they believe they know who was responsible they take the law into their own hands. We know there are such cases. That kind of service was offered to me by some police officers,” says Mr. Gallo.