1,300 bodies remain unclaimed this year in Tijuana, medical examiner says

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Cartel violence, COVID-19 blames for deaths

TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA — SATURDAY, APRIL 25, 2020: A picture of SEMEFO building, the medical examiner’s office in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 25, 2020. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Tijuana’s Medical Examiner’s office said that on average, it has 1,300 unclaimed bodies that have to be buried in a mass grave every year.

In the past 18 months, due to the pandemic and ongoing cartel violence, more bodies have gone unclaimed.

The city’s Catholic bishop, Francisco Moreno Barrón, wants to offer to sort of memorial for these people on a consistent basis.

“I was impacted by the figure, I didn’t know,” said Moreno Barrón. “I believe that we can do something on our own, these are human beings who lost their lives sadly and they have no one to recognize or claim them.”

The bishop said that for the remainder of the month of August, prayers for the victims and for the thousands who lost their lives due to COVID-19 will be said during all Mass celebrations.

“We can do something to recognize our brothers and sisters whose bodies have been abandoned, I’m going to try and coordinate these prayers to remember them all,” Moreno Barrón said.

In the meantime, the medical examiner has begun moving 150 unclaimed bodies out of its facility according to César González Vaca, head of Baja California’s Forensic office.

He said the bodies are cadavers that have not been claimed for a long time, in some instances, for more than two years.

González Vaca said the bodies will be taken to a cemetery operated by his office where there are common graves.

“We do this to save on space, we have problems with the lack of real estate, every year we have to bury about 1,300 bodies like this,” he said.

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