Anne Marie Mackler, FNS Editor
Celia Guadalupe Gómez, 13, originally from Veracruz, was found dead on December 9 in Cd. Juárez. She was strangled, stabbed and possibly raped and her body was discovered in the desert area of Oasis Revolución, where at least six other female murder victims have been discovered in 1998. According to the NGOs, this puts the number of women murdered in Cd. Juárez up to 171 since 1993.
Celia Gómez had been missing since November 10 when she did not arrive home after school. Her family immediately contacted police and NGOs but to no avail. Her body was discovered in the desert 30 days after her disappearance by someone collecting bottles for recycling.
Because the autopsy revealed that the killer used his hands to strangle Celia, the NGOs believe that this crime is related to at least six others in which the women were strangled, stabbed and raped and left in the same location since January of this year. Other victims were between the ages 13 and 25, although the age of one victim, a pregnant woman, remains unknown.
Zully Ponce Prieto, special investigator of crimes against women, in office since the October 1998 transition of power, says that she has some evidence and feels very positive that this murder will be solved. She announced that her office will use all of its manpower and equipment, and they will not quit until they have found the person responsible for this crime.
NGO’s staged a protest on December 10 against the government’s failure to solve these crimes. “We want answers,” says Guillermina González, representative from Voces Sin Eco (Voices Without Sound). “They close the doors in our faces.” NGOs are tired of what they deem the incompetence of the of the new authorities, and say they continue cooperating with the officials in a peaceful manner, however, dead women keep appearing and none of the cases are being solved. They plan to send a letter to President Ernesto Zedillo demanding intervention and that solutions be found for the unsolved cases of both missing women and murdered women.
Meanwhile, it was reported that files on 130 of these cases will be analyzed by the FBI in Washington D.C. with hopes of developing a psychological profile of a serial killer. Because of the nature of these crimes, the special office for the investigations of crimes against women in Cd. Juárez will work with the FBI in Washington D.C. to analyze the evidence. Additionally, FBI will continue providing training to this office to improve their management of these crime cases.
Although two El Paso men are possible suspects because they fit the psychological profile of potential serial killers, neither has been identified or charged, according to El Paso Police. Also, Abdel Latif Sharif Sharif, an Egyptian chemist, has been in custody for three years in Cd. Juárez on suspicion of involvement with the gang Los Rebeldes, members of which were convicted in 1996 in connection with several murders, however Sharif maintains his innocence.
Celia Gomez’ family moved to the city barely a year ago to try to improve their lifestyle, having only the clothes on their backs. With current jobs in assembly plants in Cd. Juárez, both of her parents believed they were gaining some success, and acquiring some possessions. However, now that they have suffered this horrible crime, they will return to Veracruz. “Here, they call us peasants, in sandals, who live off of beans and corn. But I would prefer to live poorly in Veracruz, if it meant my family would be safe. Back home, this type of thing would never have happened to us,” said Trinidad Gómez, the victim’s mother.
Source: El Diario, El Norte