Friday, May 31, 2013

Mystery deepens as 11 ’missing’ in Mexico

Relatives of 11 young people who vanished from a Mexico City bar insist they were kidnapped and that more may have been taken in a mysterious daytime incident near the federal police headquarters.

Authorities, however, said they were still looking for evidence that gunmen burst into the after-hours bar and seized the group last Sunday morning in the same downtown city block that houses the federal police offices.

Meanwhile, it emerged that two of the youngsters who disappeared are the sons of two men serving prison time for drug trafficking, but their mothers insisted that their sons have stayed away from crime.

The aunt of one victim said more parents believe that their children were at the bar that day, which would raise the number of disappeared to 17.


So far, seven young men and four women have been reported missing, ranging in age from 16 to 34.

But the city's top prosecutor, Rodolfo Rios Garza, said that only 11 reports have been filed so far.

One woman told authorities her daughter may have been the 12th person in the group, but investigators are checking if she was in the same bar, he said.

He said the victims have been classified as ''missing'' for now and that investigators were reviewing footage from security cameras to determine what happened.

''But so far we don't have evidence that these people were there or that they were kidnapped there,'' Rios Garza told Radio Formula.

Two security cameras hang outside the bar entrance, where relatives placed pictures of their loved ones.

The sign above the bar, which is closed with seals from the prosecutor's office, show it is called ''Bicentenario'' but relatives say it is known as ''After Heaven''.

''We just want our children back,'' Leticia Ponce, mother of 16-year-old Jerzy Ortiz, said.

Her husband is Jorge Ortiz Reyes, alias El Tanque (''The Tank''), who was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2003 for being part of a criminal group, but she said her son was ''a good boy'' who works in the family's stores in the rough Tepito neighbourhood.

''Don't criminalise my son.

His father did some things, but leave his son alone,'' she said.

Relatives say a group of armed men burst into the bar between 10am and 1pm on Sunday and whisked them away in three sport-utility vehicles.

They say the story was relayed by two youngsters who escaped the mass kidnapping.

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