Bodies Are Piling Up at Tijuana Morgue, Health Officials Threaten Closure

The increase in violence in Tijuana has left bodies piling up in the offices of the medical examiner to the point that some people working nearby report an intense smell.

Citizens are complaining about the conditions in the Forensic Medical Service, Semefo de Tijuana.

The city has seen the number of murders triple in the last two years.

The neighbors' complaint was confirmed by the Office of Environmental Protection whose employees found hazardous waste was stored outdoors, blood was not kept refrigerated, freezers were insufficient or not working and bodily fluids are stored longer than necessary.

Up to 30 bodies arrive a day according to those who work around the building.

"They wash the trays, the smell goes out everywhere,” said resident Gustavo Díaz. “Every time they carry a body they put it on the floor to take a picture."

Telemundo 20 said nearby funeral homes estimate the morgue receives an average of 300 bodies a month.

"This is a normal smell to have 110 bodies, which we have now,” explained César González, coordinator of Semefo de Tijuana. He said some of the bodies are discovered months after the person died.

Because prosecutors have such a busy caseload, families are not able to get the correct documents to receive the bodies of their loved ones, said Francisco Javier Flores. He has worked for 32 years helping families outside of Semefo at Funeraria Hernández.

Now, health authorities have given the coroner’s office an ultimatum. If the issue is not corrected soon, the morgue will be closed.

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