Fifteen years without Fanny: the journey of a Mexican family looking for their missing daughter

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When on November 5, 2004 Fanny Sanchez Viesca did not return home after school, Mexico was not yet in the worst crisis of its recent history, with more than 40,000 people missing. Sputnik talked with his family and reviewed the process that has them without clues, 15 years later.

"When we started, the forced disappearance was not even a crime. Right now there are many, but before we were less: less heard, there was less support and the victimization (of the authorities) was even more terrible, because they told you" Wait for me to come back, the girl is a bastard "," said Silvia Ortiz, mother of Fanny Sanchez Viesca, to Sputnik.

Together with her husband and Fanny's father, Oscar Sanchez Viesca, they have been promoters of the organization of families in the north of the country, founding in 2013 the VIDA Group (Victims for their rights in action) and becoming the main team since 2014 clandestine grave search in the state of Coahuila and recently also in Durango.

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                    Sputnik / Eliana Gilet

Silvia Ortiz and Oscar Sanchez offer a talk at the end of the movie where their daughter's case was presented

In 2015, they found the largest clandestine extermination center found in the country, in an ejido called Sponsorship in the municipality of San Pedro, in Coahuila, a state from which they originated. At the moment, Grupo Vida has found human remains in 28 clandestine centers of disappearance of people in the region adjacent to Durango, called Comarca Lagunera, which includes the municipalities of Torreon, Francisco and Madero, San Pedro, Matamoros and Viesca.

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                    Sputnik / Eliana Gilet

Silvia Ortiz shows photos of the remains located in different extermination camps, where the VIDA Group searches for missing persons

"Of those 28, we are working on 13 for ten days at each point and then ten at another and so we turn it over. They are positive points (which confirms the presence of human remains) found by the Life Group, for which we coordinate with the local prosecutor's office and the work is organized, "Oscar Sanchez Viesca, Fanny's father, told Sputnik.

Mexico in a national forensic emergency

Silvia and Oscar arrived in Mexico City with their eldest children, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, for the presentation of a documentary Illusions of control that portrays the family search. When he finished and took the floor at the National Cineteca, Silvia said that he would now have liked to say other things he said in the movie:

"The film was recorded two years ago and right now we have a forensic emergency, because it was not just about recovering bodies or remains, but that they were identified. I would have liked to establish that, that forensic emergency that we have right now in the country," he said. Ortiz in an interview with Sputnik.

They critically pointed out the new Government headed by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador regarding the search for missing persons, a task that was entrusted to Karla Quintana: "For us, his appointment was an imposition," Silvia said and to plot his opinion, referred to the meeting that kept different groups in the Ministry of the Interior, where they were presented with the government plan on the subject:
"The plan said 'create' but what will you create if things are already there? Implement, strengthen. You have to favor what was already there," said Silvia.
The lag is such that there is still no single system of information about missing persons. The first National Search Commissioner, Roberto Cabrera, worked on the creation of a "fingerprint" that contained that information, but there has been no news of the continuity of this first initiative.

"Cabrera had already made the agreement with the INE (Electoral Institute, to include his information in the registry of missing persons) and there was also a page where you could get in and see the information about your missing person who is no longer there. Nor is an application cell phone that allowed you to confirm if your DNA (from the families in search) had been included in the database, "Ortiz said.

  • Fanny Sanchez Viesca's family at a conference at the end of a documentary where her case is presentedFanny Sanchez Viesca's family at a conference at the end of a documentary where her case is presented

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                        Sputnik / Eliana Gilet

  • Fanny Sanchez Viesca's family at a conference at the end of a documentary where her case is presentedFanny Sanchez Viesca's family at a conference at the end of a documentary where her case is presented

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                        Sputnik / Eliana Gilet

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                    Sputnik / Eliana Gilet

Fanny Sanchez Viesca's family at a conference at the end of a documentary where her case is presented

"Instead of strengthening what Cabrera had advanced, it starts from scratch. We were all upset, of all the groups," he explained.

"This is not a game, they are not giving it seriousness, but there can be no Fourth Transformation in the country – AMLO's motto – missing more than 40,000 people, missing our relatives at the tables, in their beds, in our homes," Sanchez Viesca added. "That they are not throwing bells to the sky because it is not possible to see how they are going to attend this emergency," he explained.

Fifteen years of searching

"There is nothing concrete", they respond with regret when asked about advances in the investigation of the whereabouts of their daughter, who was 16 years old at the time she was disappeared, in the city of Torreon, Coahuila, where the family continues to live .

"Precisely for that reason it is the inconvenience that we have that after 15 years, incredibly, they do not have any line of investigation", explained Oscar in interview. "As I have heard throughout the country with other people from collectives in other states, that their files have pure collaborative trades (between institutions) things that we call ´basura´ but nothing of field research", explained.

During the first years they walked alone in the search, they participated in the impulse that created the General Law of Disappearance that was sanctioned at the end of 2017 and now they demand that the law be respected, particularly in what has to do with the participation of families in All stages of the investigation.
Fanny's family also thinks about the possibility of taking their case before an international instance, given the responsibility that the authorities have had in which their daughter continues missing, for not having sought it and for delaying this process. They explained that in addition to having been lost for more than a year, their two files (one in the justice of Coahuila and another at the federal level, in charge of the Office of the Attorney General specialized in organized crime investigation, the seido) have been "shaved" "That is, key parts were lost, including a call log that gave clues to possible suspects of the teenage girl's disappearance.

"We are going to demand otherwise to know if Fanny is alive and where she is, and who took her, to know the truth because we are hardly going to have justice," said Oscar Sanchez Viesca. "Unfortunately in this country, the laws are set for the highest bidder, for which he has money. That justice is sold to us and if we do not have money to pay it, your case does not advance," he concluded.

According to the latest official figure officially given by Roberto Cabrera, the first national commissioner to search for missing persons, in December 2018 there were 40,180 missing persons in Mexico.



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