Mexico ends inquiry into rape-strangulations along the border
Olga R. Rodriguez:
Federal officials have quietly closed a three-year inquiry into the rape-strangulation of 14 women and teenagers in the border city of Juarez, leaving relatives with little hope the killings will ever be solved.
The federal Attorney General's Office intervened in 2003, promising it would try to solve cases plagued for years by allegations of state police corruption and incompetence.
Federal prosecutors privately returned the cases to state authorities in June because they didn't find evidence of a federal crime, according to the Chihuahua state prosecutor's office. The federal Attorney General's Office didn't respond to repeated requests from The Associated Press for comment.
The victims' families weren't told the investigation had been closed; they read it in the local newspaper.
"It fills me with rage, with a feeling of impotence, because they never investigated anything," said Josefina Gonzalez, whose 20-year-old daughter's remains were found with those of seven other young women in 2001.
In addition to those eight killings, federal authorities also dropped investigations into the slayings of six teenagers, aged 15 to 18.
They were among about 100 young women who were sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in the desert outside Juarez since 1993. The killings appeared to fit a serial pattern. Most of the victims were young, slim brunettes who worked in foreign-owned assembly plants. Many disappeared walking home on unlit streets in working class neighborhoods.
Relatives of the victims have long demanded President Vicente Fox do more to solve the killings in the city of about 1.3 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas. Police made many arrests, but the killings continued.
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