Investigation underway into mass grave outside Rocky Point


>>>THIS WEEK, INVESTIGATORS IN MEXICO ARE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF IDENTIFYING DOZENS OF HUMAN REMAINS DISCOVERED IN A MASS GRAVE OUTSIDE OF ROCKY POINT, A POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATION FOR ARIZONANS. THE FINDINGS HAVE MADE HEADLINES ACROSS MEXICO AND ARIZONA. KJZZ RADIO’S MURPHY WOODHOUSE HAS FOLLOWED THE DEVELOPMENTS AND SHARED HIS FINDINGS VIA SKYPE.>>42 BODIES HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED FOUND, AND ALL BUT TWO OF THOSE BODIES WERE FULLY SKELETONIZED. ALMOST ALL OF THEM WERE ALSO LIKELY MALE. ACCORDING TO STATE AUTHORITIES, AND I THINK IT IS WORTH POINTING OUT THAT THAT FIGURE OF 42 IS LARGER THAN THE 38 FOUND EARLIER THIS YEAR. AND AT THE TIME, A HIGH-RANKING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL WITH THE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE TOLD ME THAT THAT WAS AT THAT TIME THE LARGEST SUCH DISCOVERY HE HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE OF. SO THIS HAS NOW EXCEEDED THAT.>>WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE GROUP THAT’S DOING THE SEARCHING?>>SO THIS SPECIFIC GROUP, THE SEARCHING MOTHERS OF SONORA, IT’S ONE OF QUITE A NUMBER OF SIMILAR GROUPS THAT HAVE SPRUNG UP IN THE STATE IN RECENT YEARS. THEY ARE LARGELY COMPOSED OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE MISSING LOVED ONES. IN THE CASE OF PATRICIA FLORES, WHO IS THE LEADER OF THAT PARTICULAR GROUP, SHE IS LOOKING FOR HER TWO SONS. SHE’S ACTUALLY FROM HERMOSILLA, BUT HAD GONE TO ROCKY POINT AS IT’S KNOWN IN ARIZONA TO SET UP SORT OF A SATELLITE OR AFFILIATE GROUP THERE TO GET SEARCHING GOING IN THAT AREA. I THINK IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT THAT MANY GROUP LEADERS ARE WOMEN AND MANY MEMBERS ARE WOMEN. AND WHO THEY’RE SEARCHING FOR ARE THE OVER 2,000 PEOPLE IN SONORA WHO ARE MISSING OFFICIALLY ACCORDING TO FEDERAL DATA AS OF LATE 2018. AND THAT FIGURE FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY OF MEXICO IS OVER 40,000.>>ROCKY POINT IS A TOURISM HOT SPOT FOR MANY PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY FROM THE STATE OF ARIZONA. HOW DOES THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT HANDLE THE OPTICS OF THINGS? I MEAN THIS CAN’T PAINT A POSITIVE PICTURE FOR THAT COMMUNITY.>>YEAH. THIS IS TERRIBLE NEWS FOR ROCKY POINT, WHICH, AS YOU RIGHTLY POINT OUT, IS EXTREMELY DEPENDENT ON TOURISM, ESPECIALLY FROM FOLKS FROM ARIZONA AND ELSEWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES. I GUESS IT IS PROBABLY WORTH POINTING OUT — AND I DON’T MEAN TO UNDERCUT THE GRAVITY OF THE DISCOVERY, BUT GIVEN THAT ALL BUT TWO WERE FULLY SKELETONIZED, WE ACTUALLY CANNOT SAY HOW LONG AGO THESE CRIMES OCCURRED, YOU KNOW, WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES WERE. SO IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO USE THIS TO SAY ANYTHING SPECIFICALLY ABOUT, YOU KNOW, WHETHER VIOLENT CRIME IS INCREASING OR DECREASING OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT IN ROCKY POINT. I THINK IT’S FURTHER WORTH POINTING OUT THAT ACCORDING TO FEDERAL DATA, ROCKY POINT IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE LESS VIOLENT MAJOR CITIES IN SONORA. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, YOU CAN CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND OR APPRECIATE WHY SOMEONE MIGHT READ ABOUT THIS AND, YOU KNOW, MAYBE HAVE SOME SECT THOUGHTS ABOUT THEIR TRIP TO ROCKY POINT.>>AS YOU CONTINUE TO COLLECT INFORMATION, WHAT’S NEXT IN THE INVESTIGATIVE STAGE BUT ALSO THE CLOSURE FOR THESE FAMILIES?>>YEAH. SO STATE AUTHORITIES WILL BE HEADING UP THE IDENTIFICATION EFFORT, AND THEY WILL BE ASSISTED BY A FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST THAT’S BEEN SENT BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, SPECIFICALLY THE NATIONAL SEARCHING COMMISSION. AND AUTHORITIES HAD ASKED THOSE WITH MISSING PEOPLE TO MAKE, ONE, AN OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE MISSING PERSON, BUT THEN ALSO TO PROVIDE A DNA SAMPLE TO FURTHER AID THE IDENTIFICATION. AND THEN I’M GLAD YOU BROUGHT THAT UP REGARDING KIND OF WHAT THIS ALL MEANS FOR THE FAMILIES TIED TO THESE BODIES. SO WHILE, YOU KNOW, THIS IS VERY BAD NEWS FOR ROCKY POINT AND VERY SAD NEWS GENERALLY, THERE COULD IN FACT BE SOME RELIEF FOR A GREAT MANY PEOPLE. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT 42 PEOPLE, ALL OF WHOM HAD CLOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY.>>SO VERY SAD FOR ALL THESE FAMILIES INVOLVED, MURPHY. AND IT WASN’T SO LONG AGO THAT JUAREZ WAS IN THE SPOTLIGHT. HOW DOES THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT TREAT THIS CASE GIVEN THAT IT IS GETTING A REPUTATION FOR A DANGEROUS AND VIOLENT PLACE GIVEN THE SHEER NUMBER OF MISSING AND MURDERED PEOPLE IN THAT COUNTRY?>>THE PICTURE BEING BROADCAST TO THE GREATER WORLD OF MEXICO IS CERTAINLY ONE OF, YOU KNOW, SOME VERY CHALLENGING SECURITY SITUATIONS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I DO THINK THAT A LOT OF THE NUANCE OF THE SITUATION IS LOST IN THAT. AND IN THE CASE OF ROCKY POINT SPECIFICALLY, AGAIN, WHILE THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARILY LARGE AND TRAGIC EVENT, THE ACTUAL RATES OF MURDER IN THAT COMMUNITY ACTUALLY COMPARED TO THE REST OF SONORA IS RELATIVELY LOW. AND, AGAIN, THERE ARE OTHER PARTS OF SONORA THAT ARE EXPERIENCING MUCH, MUCH HIGHER LEVELS OF VIOLENCE AND MUCH MORE THEATRICAL VIOLENCE.

One thought on “Investigation underway into mass grave outside Rocky Point

  1. Let’s hope that the Mexico police are not involved in this because if they are there will probably be a cover up. A mother from Arizona went on the new saying her son has been missing since 2015, she said she got a call from her son’s friend saying he’s was picked up, she didn’t say by who but sounds like the police. I hope the investigation leads to justice and we find out what really happened to these victims.

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