A search for seven kidnapped boys between the ages of 14 and 18 in the north-central Mexico state of Zacatecas came to a tragic end following the discovery of six dead bodies and one badly injured survivor over the weekend.
The lone survivor, now identified as 18-year-old Sergio Acevedo, had serious head wounds and was reportedly being treated at the Zacatecas General Hospital, according to the Daily Mail.
Karla Rodríguez, Acevedo’s mother, said her son awoke for a moment but has since been heavily sedated.
“Yes, he recognizes me, but he has no idea of time right now, maybe it’s because of the beatings, I don’t know,” she said, per Daily Mail. “He said that he is not up to bad things. He said: ‘I have not done anything wrong.’ I told him: ‘I know, my son, I know.’”
Acevedo, along with the bodies of the other teenagers, was discovered by a search team in an area that was “difficult to access since there are no roads,” according to El País.
The bodies belonged to Jorge Alberto René Ocón Acevedo, 14, Óscar Ernesto Rojas Alvarado, 15, Diego Rodríguez Vidales, 17, Héctor Alejandro Saucedo Acevedo, 17, Gumaro Santacruz Carrillo, 18, and Jesús Manuel Rodríguez Robles, 18. Funeral services for those found dead were held on Thursday.
Francisco Murillo, the state attorney general of Zacatecas, said at a press conference on Wednesday that two teenagers were arrested on Tuesday, noting that the apprehensions “could be related to the disappearance,” according to El País.
The arrests were made roughly 40 miles from where the teenagers were kidnapped over the weekend.
According to CBS News Texas, Rodrigo Reyes, a senior state official in Zacatecas, said, “There is a high probability that they are linked.”
The kidnapping of the teenagers, who were visiting family and friends at a Zacatecas ranch, occurred around 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. Multiple vehicles carrying armed men arrived at the ranch. The men kidnapped the boys, according to an earlier report by El País.
The father of one of the teenagers, who requested anonymity due to safety concerns, said that the leader of the men fired a gun and proceeded to take away the boys.
“The authorities are just 100 or 200 meters from the ranch from which they were taken. They didn’t hear the shots, they didn’t hear anything. They sent a state officer after 8 a.m., and he showed up without a weapon, without protection gear, nothing. All the village residents in nearby homes heard the shots, it can’t be possible that [the authorities] didn’t hear them,” the father said, per El País.
Kidnappings and disappearances are a major issue across Mexico, as just 1% of the more than 100,000 missing people are found.
In Dallas, kidnappings have been on the rise, with the Dallas Police Department clocking a 15% year-over-year increase as of September 27, according to the City of Dallas crime overview dashboard.
DPD has been enduring a serious staffing shortage over the last few years, maintaining a force of fewer than 3,200 officers when a City analysis previously recommended 4,000.
The shortage has especially affected Downtown Dallas, which regularly logs higher crime rates than Fort Worth’s downtown area. The latter is reportedly patrolled by a dedicated police unit working alongside private security guards.