Guanajuato authorities identify remains of elementary school teacher among 72 corpses buried clandestinely

Latin America World

 “MX” for Borderland Beat

Text on the left reads: “May the Lord grant you and our family peace and comfort during these difficult times. My deepest condolences”. Elementary school teacher Lupita (right) was missing for a year. She was confirmed dead last week.

Almost a year after her disappearance, the body of elementary school teacher Guadalupe Barajas Piña, better known as Lupita, was identified among the 72 bodies uncovered last October in Salvatierra, Guanajuato.

Personnel from the Guanajuato Prosecutor’s Office informed the teacher’s family last Friday that the forensic genetic identification process gave a positive result, for which it was concluded that, after her disappearance, she was murdered and buried clandestinely in a large property.

“Salvatierra is suffering, and everyone is silent. We are 25 families from Salvatierra and we have found at least seven of our relatives in clandestine graves … and people continue to disappear,” said a missing person searcher.

Teacher Lupita went missing on 29 February 2020 after she visited her parents in Salvatierra and had gone out to buy food for lunch. Lupita had been living in Irapuato for a few years with her husband and daughter. She taught at the rural primary school Guadalupe Victoria in La Valencianita community of that municipality.

Lupita had communicated by phone with her parents and her husband while she was in a city street buying cakes. But after that communication they did not have contact with her again.

At the beginning of last March, feminist groups and members of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) sent several letters to Guanajuato Prosecutor’s Office to demand that it deploy all the resources to locate Lupita. On that occasion, the teachers expressed their fear about the conditions in which they carry out their work, mainly in the southern region of the state, where they do not have guarantees for their safety.

“That is unacceptable, Mr. Governor. We ask you with all our hearts to help us, as neither students nor teachers feel safe in Salvatierra,” an activist wrote to Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue Rodríguez.

Of the 72 bodies exhumed in Salvatierra, only about 32 have been identified.

“We are not going after the culprit, nor do we want to know why they did this to our loved ones. That is something for the Prosecutor’s Office to figure out. We just want to know where are loved ones are. We will not stop looking for them until they return home”, said one of the missing person’s relatives. 

Sources: Proceso; CulturaColectiva