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Mystery surrounds “kidnapping” of Spanish woman in Mexico

Pilar Garrido was taken at gunpoint on July 2, says her husband, but nobody is asking for ransom

When Spanish woman Pilar Garrido was kidnapped in Mexico on July 2, a slightly strange glossary of terms emerged to describe her situation. Some people talk about her as being “kidnapped;” others use the word “disappeared.” Yet others claim that her legal status is “unlocated person.”

Pilar Garrido with her son.
Pilar Garrido with her son. Facebook

Whatever the case, the fact is that she is not there. Garrido was allegedly taken at gunpoint from a road in the eastern state of Tamaulipas, but nobody has made any demands of any kind, for ransom or anything else. So who took her? And where is she now?

On Monday, a spokesman for the Tamaulipas state government used the expression “unlocated person” to talk about Garrido. As a matter of fact, the case is being handled by the Prosecutor’s Office Specializing in Unlocated Persons, rather than the the State Anti-kidnapping Coordination unit. This means that there are more options on the table. Whoever took the Spanish woman could have done so just because they could – because they wanted her. Over two weeks have gone by, and nobody has called asking for ransom.

A media report stating blood had been found in the family car was later refuted by authorities

According to Garrido’s husband’s version of events, the couple and their baby were returning from the beach on July 2 when a group of armed men intercepted their vehicle. The family was heading back to Ciudad Victoria, the state capital of Tamaulipas, after spending the weekend on the coast. There were three men in the car, which blocked theirs, forcing them to brake and stop. First, the attackers demanded they hand over their vehicle. Then they decided to take Pilar instead. Not her husband, not the baby, not the vehicle, and no money. Just her.

No demands

This story might be true, and then again it might not. On Wednesday, Spanish daily El Mundo reported that investigators had found blood in the trunk of the family car. After circulating for hours, this information was finally refuted by authorities. The security spokesman for the local government, Luis Alberto Rodríguez, explained that experts from the prosecutor’s office searched the car and did not find any traces.

Garrido’s sister, Raquel, broke the news of the disappearance on Sunday, and she says that she would “stake her life” on her brother-in-law’s innocence. She noted that even though the couple had only been living in Ciudad Victoria for the last three years, they had been married for five, and began dating 11 years ago.

Pilar Garrido in pictures taken from her Facebook profile.
Pilar Garrido in pictures taken from her Facebook profile.

Sources familiar with the investigation told EL PAÍS that dozens of people have been interrogated and that officers are carrying out a sweep of the hills near the spot where Garrido’s husband says they were accosted. “Our starting point is that spot, located around 50 kilometers from Ciudad Victoria,” said one officer who is participating in the search. “We are making sweeps within a radius of 70 to 100 kilometers.”

Tamaulipas is one of the most dangerous regions in Mexico. There are 5,563 cases of missing people there, and some started out the same way as Pilar Garrido. Some experts feel that too much time has passed to seriously consider this case a kidnapping. Eduardo Guerrero, a security consultant, told this newspaper on Tuesday that after seven days have gone by, it is very uncommon for kidnappers to get in touch if they have not already done so.

English version by Susana Urra.

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