Year of Youth 2018

The Mexican Doctor Rehydrating the Dead

Last edited 19th June 2017

The Mexican Doctor Rehydrating the Dead

Rosa María Apodaca has spent the past six years looking for her eldest daughter. Patricia Jazmín Ibarra was 18 when she left on the morning of 7 June 2011 to go to work at a mobile phone shop in the centre of Ciudad Juárez. "They stole her," says her mother, who has given up her job to look for Patricia Jazmín.

Ms Apodaca knows that many of the young girls who disappeared from Ciudad Juárez were eventually found dead. The city on the Mexican-US border is located on a key route for drug smuggling and human trafficking. In the 1990s, Ciudad Juárez became infamous for the staggering numbers of young women who disappeared from it, and between 2008 and 2011 the city held the dubious title of murder capital of the world.

"They never find them alive. They find only bones, this is how they give them back to their families," Ms Apodaca says of the many women who have gone missing.
"You never have the certainty that it is your own daughter."

Identifying the deadIt is people like Ms Apodaca that Dr Alejandro Hernández Cárdenas is trying to help. He works as a forensic doctor at the prosecutor's office and has developed a special technique to rehydrate corpses in order to help identify them.

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