Ciudad Juarez, a border town in Mexico, is a dangerous place for women. Since the 1990s, hundreds of girls have disappeared from the streets of this city. Fifteen years ago, so many women went missing that the FBI got involved. For a while, the killings seemed to have stopped. Now they’re happening again. In the past year and a half, over 20 girls have mysteriously disappeared from the town. Most of them are young and attractive and were last seen in the downtown area.Many of the girls from previous disappearances were found dead in the middle of the desert, badly beaten, raped, and tortured. Some were wearing the clothes of other girls who had gone missing and were in such a state of decay that they were mistaken for someone else. Others never turned up at all.
This time, however, no bodies have been found. In fact, many of the girls’ families think their loved ones are still alive. Several report getting random phone calls from unknown numbers and weird messages from men who claim the girls are okay. One popular theory is that the women were captured and sold into prostitution rings.
Today, the vast majority of the previous disappearances have never been solved. Even with the FBI on the case, investigators were unable to track down who was committing these atrocities. And bodies continued to pile up.
There are a lot of theories as to what is happening. Many of the previous murders were linked to the drug war, and the government or the local police may have been to blame. Since domestic violence is a huge problem, another theory is that the girls are beaten to death by their husbands or boyfriends.
But there may not be one end-all reason for the killings. There have been far too many with far too varied circumstances for there to be just one culprit. The fact that these killing have been going on for so long is indicative of bigger problems. The Mexican government continues to turn a blind eye to the cases, putting limited resources into finding the women. There are reports of local newspapers purposely misreporting that the girls had been found so that people would stop looking for them. A few women have come forward, saying they were raped or beaten by local police.
The FBI didn’t stick around for long. The victims were poor, young, and Mexican. And women. [LA Times]