The investigation into the death of Debanhi Escobar, the young woman whose body was found in the cistern of a motel in Nuevo León, could take a new turn when the images that reveal the moment in which the driver hired to take her home were released. He tries to touch her at chest level, as reported by Mario Escobar, the victim’s father.
According to the Mexican newspaper Millennium, the journalist Lily Uresti had exclusive access to the images that show how the driver, identified as Juan David Cuéllar, 47, tries to extend his right arm in order to touch Debanhi, who was in the back seat of the KIA vehicle.
The chronology of the events indicates that Cuéllar picked up the young woman at 4:20 a.m. on April 9, but five minutes later, at 4:25 a.m., he got her out of the vehicle in an uninhabited place at kilometer 15.5 of the highway. Via Numancia and Via a Nuevo Laredo. In that area, the driver took a photo of Debanhi standing on the side of the road. That image went viral and was the one used on social networks to try to locate the young woman during the 13 days that the search for her lasted.
The investigations indicate that at 4:30 in the morning, Debahni asked for help, without success, at the facilities of the Alcosa transport company. Later, the security cameras of that company record her walking towards the Nueva Castilla Motel. Here, she loses track of the young woman because the owners of that place assure that her cameras do not record images and are only for surveillance purposes.
Cuellar, who works for Uber and Didi, picked up Debanhi off those platforms. The girl’s friends called him from the Venezia estate, where the party had taken place, so that he could make the transfer. Supposedly it was a “trusted contact”.
From the beginning, however, it was striking that Debanhi had gotten out of the vehicle only five minutes after boarding it. The driver explained that it was because he had an altercation with her, but until now the reason is not known.
The father accuses the taxi driver
Debanhi’s father has insisted that it was the taxi driver who put the young woman in a dangerous situation for having tried to abuse her. “I publicly accuse Juan David Cuéllar of all this,” Mario Escobar told the media in recent days outside the Nueva Castilla Motel, where the body of his daughter was found.
Both Mario Escobar and his wife, Dolores Bazaldúa, have also blamed the Nuevo León prosecutor, Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero, for incompetence and for having planted Debanhi’s body inside the cistern, as well as for ensuring that “there was no crime to prosecute.” , despite evidence that the taxi driver tried to abuse his daughter.
“I was wrong to trust the Prosecutor’s Office, I apologize,” said Debanhi’s father, who was only 18 years old and a law student, visibly dismayed.
The Attorney General’s Office put forward the theory that Debanhi had accidentally fallen into the motel’s cistern and died from a deep concussion to his skull and drowned. The young woman’s family say that this version is a “lie” and believe that Debahni was beaten and strangled.
Debanhi’s parents also question the fact that for 13 days, the authorities used more than 200 elements, drones and search dogs to search the Nueva Castilla Motel at least four times and found nothing. The discovery of the body was made until the hotel workers gave the alert due to the fetid odors that came out of the cistern.
“Massive human failure”
Due to the errors and omissions that the investigation has presented so far, even the Secretary of State Security of Nuevo León, Aldo Fasci, has described what happened as “a massive human error.”
Debanhi joins the long list of dead and missing women in Nuevo León. The governor of that state, Samuel García, reported that from the beginning of 2022 until April 17, 327 reports of missing persons had been filed, of which 289 were found alive, 33 remain unaccounted for and five were found dead.
Gender violence against women is not a new phenomenon in Mexico, but each year it grows significantly. According to the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, in 2021 the country registered 1,004 femicides; in 2020, 978 and in 2019, 973
In a recent report, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances described this phenomenon as alarming and called on the government to take urgent action. The Committee points out that not only organized crime is responsible, but also federal, state and municipal authorities.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.