Social Issues

Missing woman’s mother blasts Mexican authorities

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, May 24 (EFE).- More than five years after Pamela Gallardo went missing, her family and friends prevailed on authorities to conduct a thorough search of the young woman’s last known location in Mexico City, but officials’ promises proved to be hollow.

“It was not a search, it was a stroll,” Pamela’s mother, Maria del Carmen Volante, told EFE.

Maria last saw her daughter on Nov. 5, 2017, when Pamela left home to attend the Soul Tech music festival at Ajusco, a volcano on the southern edge of Mexico’s capital.

Frustrated by the attitude of authorities, who have showed reluctance to pursue leads or examine evidence uncovered by the family, Maria has done her own sleuthing in this sprawling metropolis of 20 million people.

And after traipsing to a myriad of different offices, she finally secured a commitment to conduct a serious search.

At 9:00 am Tuesday, Maria del Carmen and other relatives of Pamela came to Ajusco along with dozens of volunteers from organizations of families of the missing, officials of the Mexico City Search Commission, and forensics experts.

“Daughter, where are you?,” Maria said as she looked out across the vast, towering volcano.

As the minutes passed, the family and their supporters realized that the National Guard detachment and fire rescue personnel accompanied by search dogs that they had been promised were nowhere to be seen.

They also saw that no work had been done to lay out a grid for the search.

Even so, the more than 40 family members, friends, and volunteers sought to make the most of the opportunity, splitting into three groups to cover as much territory as possible.

They combed the ground for clothing and dug up the ground in spots where the soil appeared to be freshly turned.

“Today has been in preparation for the last seven months. We observe that there has been a lack of preparation despite authorities’ having affirmed that all of the authorities were contacted,” the Gallardo Volante family’s lawyer, Alan Piñon, said after the search came to an end around 1:00 pm amid a driving rain.

“It’s a simulation, it’s to wear us out. The people whose lives are in the search don’t matter to them,” Maria del Carmen said.

After decades of “disappearances,” the number of missing persons in Mexico stands at 112,000 and though the issue is certainly on the public agenda, the families say the government’s response has been inadequate.

And the ranks of parents who die not knowing what became of their missing children are growing. EFE ia/dr

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