The alerts on the disappearance of women in Nuevo León continue. During the first quarter of the year 2022, at least 18 alerts were issued on the disappearance of young people in the entity, including minors between 12 and 15 years old, of whom at least 10 have been identified.
Who is Debanhi Escobar
Table of Contents
Debanhi Escobar, with the full name of Debanhi Susana Escobar Bazaldúa, was a third semester student of the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (UANL). She was the 18-year-old who disappeared on April 9, 2022, and was found lifeless after a 13-day search.
What Happened to Debanhi Escobar
It is known that on Friday, April 8, Debanhi went to a Quinta in the municipality of Escobedo with two friends. It is known that Debanhi allegedly had differences with her friends, who returned home in a cab and requested for her the service of a “trusted contact”, who works with the Uber/Didi platforms, but this time, worked outside of them. After going to pick up Debanhi Susana at the 5:00 AM, she allegedly also had differences with the driver that her friends sent her, and in the early hours of the morning, he took her down to an unpopulated place on the edge of the highway to Nuevo Laredo and took a photograph with his cell phone that he sent to the two friends who requested the service.
Debanhi’s body was found in a hotel cistern 13 days after the search for the 18-year-old girl, her body was in a disused cistern located in a property next to the Nueva Castilla motel, in the municipality of Escobedo, Nuevo Leon.
According to the necropsy performed by the prosecutor’s office on Debanhi Susana’s body, it was found that she died from a deep skull contusion. In addition, state justice sources revealed to Imagen Televisión that Debanhi’s face presented two blows, one at the level of the forehead and the other in the nose and mouth. During the review of videos to learn about the events that took place in the early morning of April 9, made by Debanhi’s parents together with Governor Samuel Garcia, it was revealed that Debanhi entered the Nueva Castilla motel alone. After not finding help at the Alcosa Transportation company, the 18-year-old girl walked alone to the motel, entered through the main entrance arch, went around the restaurant and passed in front of the cameras that control the entrance to the place, where there is a system from where the cameras are monitored and continued walking towards the garden of the place.
In a press conference, Nuevo Leon Attorney General Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero announced that due to the detection of some deficiencies in the search for Debanhi Escobar, the decision was made to remove from office two heads of specialized prosecutors’ offices. Sources from the state prosecutor’s office confirmed that the clothes and shoes on the body corresponded to those worn by Debanhi Susana Escobar when she disappeared.
Debanhi’s cell phone was found in the grave, although not next to her body, and although the State Attorney General’s Office has qualified personnel, given the technical difficulties due to the damages suffered by the device when it was submerged in the water for so long, they will use external personnel to try to recover photographs, possible phone calls or messages, which will help in the investigations.
Debanhi’s face shows two blows
Mario Escobar, Debanhi Escobar’s father has had his reservations about how his daughter’s body arrived at the cistern next to the Nueva Castilla motel, where she was found on April 21, because he does not believe that his daughter managed to jump the 10-meter fence that surrounds the site. The Nuevo Leon Prosecutor’s Office showed her videos where she observes that the cab driver who picked her up touched her breasts without her consent, which triggered her to get out. “They lied to me and my wife. If the National Guard has to be brought in, bring them in. I have more information.”
About the investigations, Mr. Mario Escobar said that if necessary, he would agree to an exhumation of his daughter’s remains. In an interview after the tribute at the university, he commented that in a video shown to them by the state Attorney General of Justice, Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero, in the presence of Governor Samuel Garcia, they observed that his daughter did indeed enter the Nueva Castilla motel. “We were shown a video. Obviously she [Debanhi] enters the property [the motel], but that’s as far as it goes. She is seen on two occasions, with no further details of what happened afterwards. That is all I can say because that is all that can be seen and I cannot tell lies,” he said.
Mario Escobar regretted that the videos were handed over after his daughter’s body was located, and pointed out that now it must be established what caused this delay. Due to the inconsistencies, Debanhi’s father denounced the violation of her rights before the National Human Rights Commission and went to the governor of Nuevo Leon, Samuel Garcia, to clarify the case.
He said that the family is now relying on the National Human Rights Commission and reiterated his request that, if there was any negligence and crime in the investigation, “whoever has to fall must fall” and that the case is clarified. “Let the truth be told,” he asked.
Debanhi was not seen falling into a cistern in the video
Debanhi Susana Escobar Bazaldúa did enter the Nueva Castilla motel, but in the short videos that the Attorney General’s Office showed to her parents, in the presence of Governor Samuel García, at no time is it seen that she fell into the cistern where her lifeless body was found, said Mario Escobar, father of the young law student.
On the other hand, four days after the Prosecutor’s Office announced that the cause of Debanhi’s death was due to a deep skull contusion, her father affirmed that he did not have the results of the autopsy before entering a meeting at the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Feminicides and Crimes against Women, Adolescents and Girls. He was about to receive the expert report he requested from an external professional. He said that the internal expertise of the Prosecutor’s Office included the forensic expert of the National Search Commission, who would have to comment with the federation.
Mario Escobar also tried to check with the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office on Feminicides, which was handling his daughter’s case. About Debanhi’s cell phone, the personnel of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office on Disappearances initially gave him hope that Debanhi was alive, saying that GPS tracking of the device showed movement. But later they affirmed that it was inside the grave where the body was located.
Mario Escobar was interviewed when he arrived at the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Feminicides, where he commented that he was going to check on the progress of the investigation and to receive some documents and videos that he had requested, among them those that were shown to him and his wife in the presence of Governor Samuel Garcia. He pointed out that in those short videos they observed that Debanhi did enter the Nueva Castilla motel. She went in two or three times. Mario Escobar also said that some people from the federal government arrived with him on the instructions of the President of the Republic and the Secretary of Security and Citizen Protection on April 22, the day his daughter’s remains were being watched over.
No one was chasing Debanhi on her way to the hotel
Authorities from the Nuevo Leon Attorney General’s Office held a press conference to release images that show the time and place where Debanhi Escobar was found alive near the Nueva Castilla Motel.
The images presented, which were captured by video cameras, show three moments in which the 18-year-old girl was wandering around the place. In one of these images, Debanhi can be seen running, as pointed out by the deputy prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Nuevo Leon, Luis Enrique Orozco Suarez. However, authorities pointed out that it was not detected that anyone was following her or was in that place.
The images were captured by a surveillance camera located inside the disused restaurant next to the Motel Nueva Castilla and by another one located at the access to the motel, in the parking lot; this is the last time Debanhi is seen alive.
Prior to this image, the young woman was captured in two more: on the curb of the Monterrey-Nuevo Laredo highway, while waiting to cross to the sidewalk, to then arrive at the Alcosa transportation company and look at the security booth. In the vicinity of the Nueva Castilla Motel, Debanhi and her silhouette can be seen peeking through a glass door of an abandoned restaurant and then running towards the other door, which faces the Monterrey-Nuevo Laredo highway.
Did Debanhi fall lifeless into the cistern
During the press conference held by the Attorney General’s Office of Nuevo Leon, headed by Prosecutor Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero, several hypotheses were presented about the time of death of Debanhi Escobar, an 18-year-old girl reported missing on April 9th and found dead on April 21st in a cistern near a motel on the Monterrey-Nuevo Laredo highway.
Eduardo Villagómez Jasso, the coordinator of the Forensic Medical Service, pointed out that “because of the place and what we found, the girl fell alive and still had a chance to react”. When asked if Debanhi had water in her lungs, the coordinator answered that she did not, because she stood up when she fell. Regarding the height of the water stored in the cistern, he specified that it reached 90 centimeters. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero, pointed out that nothing should be ruled out, “there are several hypotheses that she fell alive, one is that she did not, when she submerged she was already dead for us, that is why the line of investigation is open, we cannot rule it out”.
Debanhi was out of control at her last night
Sarahí and Ivonne, friends of Debanhi Susana Escobar, joined the same party at the night she disappeared. Debanhi became very bad and aggressive during the party and she did not want help from anyone, asking to be left alone. Sarahí said that she had been friends with Debanhi for four months and that they had been going out to parties since March. Ivonne said that she worked with Sarahí and met Debanhi that night.
Sarahi pointed out that Debanhi had contacted her to tell her that she would go out to a party on April 8. She invited Ivonne, with whom she worked, to join it. They both arrived at Debanhi’s house at 10:47 and went out to a first party, where they stayed for approximately one hour and 40 minutes.
She was drinking and suddenly said that she was bored of this party. And then they went to another party which had already been over. After that, they went to La Quinta in the municipality of Escobedo. Around 4 in the morning, there were some people who wanted to take Debanhi. But they did not let them, hence those people left.
According to their version, Debanhi “got foolish and locked herself in the men’s bathroom”. “She got stubborn that we should leave her alone”. After that, she went running to the pool by herself and wanted to jump in. “I stop her and told her to calm down, she started to grab her hands and told me to leave her alone, I backed up and she started to run and went around the pool. Another boy wanted to calm her down and she insisted to be left alone and runs out of the Quinta,” they explained.
They said Debanhi hit and bit the young man who wanted to calm her down. “She was very bad already, we didn’t know what to do, we were desperate because she had never been like that, we had never seen her like that,” assured Sarahí. Then they spoke back to the driver who had taken them.
“She was out of control” According to their version, Debanhi told them to leave her alone, to leave her alone, ran to the cab, got in and slammed the door. “Since she was already out of control, we thought it was convenient for her to leave because if she didn’t want us to be helping her…. She groped us many times, she was taking from us. Maybe it is the best thing to do, if she wanted to leave and got in, let her go,” explained Sarahí, who said that they hoped she would get home safely. She insisted that she dialed Debanhi’s father several times during the early hours of the morning, but he did not call them back until 8 am.
Alleged cab driver who took Debanhi assures that he did not touch her Juan David Cuellar, the alleged driver who picked up Debanhi Escobar in the early morning of April 9 and took the last photograph of her alive, assured that the young woman got out of the cab of her own free will. In an interview with INFO7 news, the man recounts that around 4 a.m. on April 9 he received a message via WhatsApp from Debanhi’s friends to pick them up at the place where there was a party, but the girls only took Debanhi up and they left in another vehicle with more people.
Debanhi moved to the front seat to charge her cell phone. He also said that Debanhi did not give him her home address, so he sent a message to her friends so that they would give him the address, but they did not give it to him either. Juan David explained that the young woman asked him for a cable to charge her cell phone and moved to the front seat. According to his version, the young woman asked him to take her to another party and then insisted on getting out of the car. “Where I advance before reaching the Laredo highway, I stop, she gets out, that’s where I took the pictures, I tell her friend that she got out,” said the driver.
Man’s silhouette in Debanhi’s death investigated
Monterrey, NL. Nuevo Leon’s Special Prosecutor for Feminicides, Griselda Nuñez, informed that as part of the investigations into the death of Debanhi, five vehicles that were in the hotel where the body of the 18-year-old girl was found were seized and that the presence of a man in the place is also being investigated.
Regarding the silhouette of someone who got into one of the secured vehicles, the prosecutor said, it is certain that it is a man. He said that so far there is no image of Debanhi in the videos from 5 a.m. on April 9, in the first and last camera, nor in the place where her body was found. Regarding the vehicles that entered the hotel, she said that they have been secured for the investigations, while the five people who were there at that time have already been interviewed.
The prosecutor indicated that the staff of the Nueva Castilla motel did not inform that there was a disused area where the cistern was located before the body of Debanhi Escobar Bazaldúa was located; therefore, the staff accompanied by canine binomials did not search this area. “Within the investigation folder we have that at the time they go, the people (from the motel), who were there did not make reference to that disused area. No person entered or checked that area,” said the prosecutor in a press conference. For this reason, they will analyze the videos, so they can see Debanhi’s body, as well as the public servants who could have been observing that area. “In the logs of the investigation that we have in the days that we appear, we do not have the distribution of tasks in that area, specifically since it was not referred by the employees that it was in disuse”, said the prosecutor, also spokesperson of Debanhi’s case.
Two prosecutors were dismissed for shortcomings in Debanhi investigation
In a press conference, the Attorney General of Nuevo Leon, Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero, announced that due to the detection of some deficiencies in the search for Debanhi Escobar, the decision was made to remove from office two heads of specialized prosecutors’ offices.
He pointed out that due to the detection of omissions and errors during the search for the young woman, an administrative procedure was initiated for all those involved in the search and the removal from office of the specialized prosecutor in Missing Persons and the specialized Anti-Kidnapping prosecutor.
During the past 30 years, many people have disappeared in Mexico, especially on the many deadly highways. It is reported that 155 femicides – the killing of women because of their gender – in the first two months of this year.