The unsolved Ciudad Juaréz murders

Published on 7 December 2019 at 20:48

Ciudad Juaréz

Once upon a time, this city was called the most violent place on earth: Ciudad Juaréz. Since 1993 more than 1500 women have been kidnapped and brutally killed here, after which most of them have been dumped in the desert. Today I am talking about these terrible unsolved murder cases...


Everywhere you look you see posters of missing women, on lampposts, walls and where there is still a place available. The hundreds of posters show the faces and information of missing women and girls. Of the 1,500 women, a few hundred of completely mutilated bodies have been found. These were found near or in the desert. A total of 544 murders have been committed and 400 women are still missing.



In the city they speak of a fairly new term: ''Femicides''. This word consists of the words female and homicide, which together make up the word. It actually means specific murders of women purely because they are women. Just because they were women, they are targeted.


It is striking that especially women between the ages of 15 and 25 are the victims. Also, many women had the same physical characteristics and are from poor backgrounds. Also about  20% of the victims were murdered by a partner.


Why unsolved?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Large parts of the disappearances remain unsolved and many family members continue to search the desert for the remains of their loved ones. The families are convinced that the women have been kidnapped by drug cartels in order to be forced into prostitution, after which they are murdered.


They also think that the police and local authorities are corrupt and have helped to destroy the evidence. The women in the city often protest and paint pink crosses everywhere. The grave crosses of the many female victims are also made pink to show that the women no longer tolerate the murders and kidnappings.


Some victims are found years later in the desert. This is logical since the desert is quite big. That is why it sometimes takes years before one of the missing women can be brought back home for a proper burial.


There have also been indications that the women were sexually abused, mutilated and tortured for days, sometimes even months, before they were murdered. This also explains why some of the bodies are not found until much later.




By 1990 there were a few factories in the city. Underpaid workers worked here to make all kinds of things for the US market. Many of the women who disappeared worked here. This also suggests that the owners of the factory may have been involved in human trafficking or selling the women to drug cartels or maybe the owners themselves had a drug cartel. This has never been proven.


Quite recently, in 2015, 21 bodies were found about an hour's drive from the city. Five men were arrested as suspects on some of these murders. The men were members of a street gang called "The Aztecas". No more people have been sentenced for the 544 murders. Despite the fact that hundreds of women disappeared every year, it seems as if the case cannot be solved.



Solving violence                                                                                                                                                                

In an attempt to combat the violence in the city, federal police and army troops were called in 2008. Unfortunately, this failed and in 2010 at least 3,000 people died as a result of the ongoing fighting. Despite its failure, the city has become much safer in recent years, they are no longer in the top 50 most violent cities.


Picture by: B575. This picture is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.



1. Revenge for emancipation. Many women started to work and became financially independent of their partner and started to emancipate. This was to the dissatisfaction of a part of the male population. According to the theory, the murders were committed out of revenge, which is supported by the fact that 20% of the victims were murdered by their partner.

2. Victims themselves guilty. A number of local politicians have claimed that the victims themselves provoked the murders because they dressed and behaved provocatively. Of course there is a lot of resistance to this theory.


I think this is a totally useless and ridiculous statement, because when men with a naked upper body are walking around, I don't think it's right for someone to kill a man for that reason, for example. Nobody has the right to murder you if they think you are dressed too attractive. 


3. One or more perpetrators. It is not yet clear whether the murders were committed by one or more persons. Many murders show a pattern and are very similar. According to some, this would point to only one perpetrator.


Personally, I think that the 1500 murders and kidnappings were definitely committed by different people, it seems hard to believe that one person can get away with more than a hundred murders a year. I also think that maybe a number of serial killers have been among them who started killing because they thought they had a chance to get away with it among the other mass murders. What do you think?


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