GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The former head of the Jalisco Forensic Sciences Institute (IJCF) told EFE on Tuesday that a second refrigerated container was being used to hold bodies in the western Mexican state, bringing the total number of corpses to about 300.
The bodies “are in the trailers, one is the one that was shown to the media and there’s a new one that was rented by the Attorney General’s Office because we do not have the resources to contract this type of service or the warehouse where they were. I didn’t know about it, (I didn’t have) any information,” Luis Octavio Cotero, who was fired on Monday from his post, said.
The second container is at the IJCF complex, Cotero said, adding that the first container was initially abandoned in the city of Tlaquepaque and later in Tlajomulco without telling him.
The IJCF did not have the capacity to store all the bodies received due to the wave of drug-related violence in Jalisco over the past three years, the former state coroner said.
A total of 444 bodies are awaiting identification or burial by the coroner’s office, Cotero said, adding that the IJCF’s cold storage units were full beyond capacity.
“The refrigerators have a capacity of 72 (bodies), but they are holding 144 because we had to force the capacity a little bit,” Cotero said.
Since the “bodies were decomposing, the prosecutors had to lease that (first) refrigerated truck container starting two years ago,” the former Jalisco coroner said, adding that officials initially stored 200 bodies, of which 100 were eventually identified.
On Monday, Jalisco Gov. Aristoteles Sandoval fired Cotero following the discovery of the bodies inside the refrigerated container in Tlaquepaque, a city in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.
“It’s obvious that serious mistakes were made that should be punished, whoever was in charge of the transfer procedures altered the protocols without notifying their superiors,” Sandoval said Monday.
The container was later moved to Tlajomulco, where Jalisco Attorney General’s Office personnel took custody of it on Saturday.
Tlaquepaque Mayor Maria Elena Limon said she notified the state government about the container last Thursday.