UPDATED 9:55 AM PT — Tues. Dec. 4, 2018
One mother’s eight-year-long wait for the return of her son is shining a light on the dangerous routes many migrants take while trying to reach the U.S. border. Her son’s coffin was sent back to the family in Honduras in late October after a deal with Mexican prosecutors had identified 200 people killed in three separate massacres.
“Eight years. Eight years so far. Well now, thank God, I can be sure I have found him. Not the way I wanted to but thank God, now I know that he has left this world, but I am calm and in peace.” — Haydee Posadas, mother of Wilmer Gerardo Nunez
Wilmer Gerardo Nunez fled Honduras in 2010, partially because of gang threats, only to arrive in Mexico to face more drug violence.
While on a tractor trailer headed toward Texas, the cartel kidnapped dozens of migrants and took them to a ranch, where they were asked to join the cartel. Only one agreed and the rest were blindfolded and shot.
Nunez’s story shows the hidden cost of migration through Mexico, where thousands have disappeared.
The Associated Press now estimates 4,000 people died or went missing along the route within the past four-years. However, the true number could be much higher, because bodies could be lost in the desert. Additionally, some families are unwilling to report people missing who were planning to cross the border illegally.
“They are all homicides, they are grave human rights violations, of which only a small portion had been identified,” stated Mercedes Doretti of an Argentine forensic anthropology team.
Migrants everywhere are at risk, with 56,000 migrants disappearing worldwide over the same period. Those traveling through Mexico face particular dangers, because of drug trafficking and gang violence.