MEXICO — The murder of a young woman in Mexico City prompted accusations on Monday that authorities in a neighboring state intentionally botched her autopsy to cover up the killer.
The death of Ariadna López, 27, brought up all the issues that have enraged women in Mexico: officials blaming the victim, poor police investigation and misconduct that has led to a growing number of unsolved murders of women.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum claimed the state prosecutor of Morelos, just south of the capital, had ties to the woman’s alleged killer, though she declined to describe their alleged ties.
“It is clear that the Morelos State Attorney attempted to cover up a woman’s killer because of her connection to the killer,” Sheinbaum said.
The woman’s body was found last week in Morelos, so authorities first investigated.
Morelos State Attorney Uriel Carmona said a state forensic examination showed López had choked on her own vomit as a result of poisoning. But Mexico City officials said Sunday they had evidence she was killed in the capital.
Carmona’s office has not commented on Sheinbaum’s accusation that the autopsy was botched or that it was part of a cover-up.
The Morelos State Anti-Corruption Office announced later Monday that it had opened an investigation into “possible crimes” and “alleged acts of corruption committed by personnel of the Morelos State Attorney’s Office. “.
On Sunday, Mexico City prosecutor Ernestina Godoy said a new autopsy by Mexico City experts found “several injuries caused by beatings” on López’s body and listed the cause of death as “multiple trauma.”
López was found dead on the side of a road last week in the state of Morelos, home to the city of Cuernavaca, a frequent weekend getaway for Mexico City residents. She had disappeared after visiting a restaurant with the suspect and his girlfriend and then visiting his apartment, authorities in Mexico City said.
On Monday, Sheinbaum showed an image from the building’s security cameras that allegedly showed the suspect walking through a basement garage with the lifeless body of a woman on his shoulder.
The suspect, who was apparently a friend of the victim, surrendered to prosecutors in the northern city of Monterrey on Monday and said he was innocent of the murder. Another woman, described as the suspect’s girlfriend, was arrested in Mexico City.
Some saw suggestions of police incompetence from the start. López disappeared from a trendy neighborhood in central Mexico City on October 30. Her body was only found a few days later, when cyclists discovered her on a path that leads from Mexico City to Morelos.
His body was only identified by relatives because the cyclists took photos of the victim’s tattoos and posted them online in an attempt to identify him.
On Monday, dozens of women and their supporters marched through downtown Mexico City demanding justice in the López case.
“We feel furious, helpless, above all mad,” said Omar Rodríguez Díaz, the victim’s brother. “They treat us like garbage and it’s sad.”
“We want justice to be done and for prosecutor Uriel Carmona to pay the consequences of his comments. He made fun of Mexico and all women,” Rodríguez Díaz said.
Sheinbaum is seen as a leading candidate to replace President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the 2024 elections. Monday’s row sets up a dispute with the governor of the state of Morelos, who is an ally of López Obrador but not a member of his Morena party.
Mexico City has its own problems with the murders of women. A young woman, Lidia Gabriela, apparently jumped out of a taxi and died on a street in Mexico City on Wednesday. Witnesses said Gabriela thought the taxi driver was trying to kidnap her, so she jumped out of the vehicle.
The state of Morelos has also had a particularly bad string of murders of women.
On Friday, the bodies of five women were found in the Morelos town of Cuautla, just south of Mexico City. The bodies were found in two different locations in the city, known as a weekend getaway for Mexico City residents.
The Morelos state attorney said the killings appear to have been carried out by a drug gang, possibly as part of some sort of dispute. Carmona said the bodies were found near a handwritten sign of the type often used by drug gangs.