A second autopsy on the body of 18-year-old Debanhi Escobar, who was found dead in the Mexican city of Monterrey after being missing for two weeks, revealed that the teen suffered sexual abuse and was “repeatedly beaten.”
Esobar’s murder last month shocked Mexico, and shone a light on the number of murdered and missing women across the country and the woeful response of both state governments and federal authorities to such crimes.
The new autopsy findings—produced by independent forensics and commissioned by her family—contradict the latest government account of her death, which was that she fell into a water tank and died from a single blow to the head.
Mario Escobar, the teen’s father, requested the latest independent autopsy due to his distrust of the government version of events. He said he shared it with the state of Nuevo León Attorney’s General Office, and alleges that prosecutors then leaked the findings to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
When Escobar’s body was first discovered inside an abandoned cistern at a motel in Monterrey, 13 days after she was reported missing by her family, state authorities initially claimed that she accidentally fell into the water tank and drowned.
The details of the second autopsy, dated April 25, a day after she was buried, had not been made public by authorities or her family until now. Following the new revelations, the government admitted that Escobar didn’t drown inside the water tank.
The new evidence offers details of what Escobar experienced during her final moment alive. Her body showed evidence of several blows to the forehead, both eyes, her nose, lips and the upper side of her right ear, according to the newest report.
After the gruesome details were published by El Pais this week, Escobar’s father posted a video on YouTube lambasting Nuevo León’s Attorney’s General Office for apparently leaking the report he had shared with them.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was in Monterrey Friday and agreed to meet Mario Escobar, who requested a private meeting to ask for help in solving his daughter’s case but also to complain about the leaking of the investigation to the press, Escobar said on the YouTube video.
“I’m committed to clearing up what happened with this family. They are good people and are very hurt,” López Obrador said in a press conference. “There will be no impunity, no corruption, and we will serve justice.”
But last month, when Debanhi Escobar was first found dead, the president was less sympathetic. At the time, he said during his morning press conference that the discovery “shouldn’t worry” Mexicans because it “happens everywhere.”
Activists have accused the state authorities, as well as those who had contact with Escobar in her last moments, of creating a “shame campaign,” and allege that both are looking to blame her for her own death.
Authorities last month made public a video from the party where Escobar and her friends were at around 3 am. In the short clip from a street security camera, Escobar is seen running away from a man who caught up with her and grabbed her before at least another six men surrounded her. They surround Escobar for a few minutes and then a white taxi, allegedly driven by Juan David Cuellar, shows up and Escobar gets in. A man and what appears to be one of Escobar’s friends talk briefly with Cuellar, before he drives away with her in the car.
More women have been reported missing in Nuevo León than anywhere else in Mexico. Escobar’s case earned national attention after a photo of her, allegedly taken by Cuellar, standing alone on the side of a highway at dawn went viral. There are some 95,000 people officially missing in Mexico and femicides are surging across the country.
Yolanda Martínez, a 26-year-old woman who was also reported missing before Debanhi, was found dead last week on a piece of wasteland in Monterrey.
After Nuevo León authorities announced that Martínez’s body had been found, activists and residents gathered in front of the state Attorney’s General’s building to protest what they claim is a lack of action by the government to stop the killing of women.