30,000 Unidentified Corpses Causing ‘Crisis' in Mexico: Agency

Mexico's mounting wave of homicides over the last decade has contributed to the backlog of corpses

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission said Thursday there are more than 30,000 unclaimed and unidentified corpses, and an uncalculated number of skeletal remains, piling up at morgues across the country.

The governmental commission said there is "a crisis in the area of forensic identification," because morgues lack funds, personnel and equipment to properly examine bodies.

Mexico's mounting wave of homicides over the last decade has also contributed to the huge backlog of corpses.

Many of the bodies have been found in clandestine burial pits often used by criminal gangs to dispose of the bodies of victims or rivals.

The commission recommended albums of photographs be compiled when such burial pits are excavated, to document items of clothing or other possible signs that could help identify bodies.

In 2018, residents of the western Mexico city of Guadalajara complained about the smell coming from a refrigerated trailer that was found to hold 273 unidentified corpses. The local morgue in western was so overcrowded and poorly run that some unidentified bodies were left to rot for two years before being autopsied.

Some morgues have buried the corpses in pauper's graves, but some of those efforts have been criticized because tissue samples weren't taken first, or grave locations and records were not adequately preserved.

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