By Brendan Borrell
|DIGGING FOR JUSTICE: Forensic anthropologist Mercedes Doretti led a team of researchers identifying remains of Los Desaparecidos-the disappeared ones-in her native Argentina. Her work there continues today, as evidence she personally collected in the 1980s is still making its way through the country's legal system. Courtesy of Richard Renaldi
"Señora, go and search for yourself." With those words, Mexican authorities sent away the grieving mother seeking clues about her daughter's killer. The year was 2001, after those authorities had discovered the bodies of eight young women in a cotton field near Ciudad Juárez on the Texas-Mexico border, across the Rio Grande from the U.S. city of El Paso. Police were unlikely to solve their cases, just like those of the hundreds of women who had been sexually abused, mutilated and killed in this lawless town, where this year alone another 60 women and girls have been murdered. The government's handling of the "Campo Algodonero" murders stood out as an egregious violation of human rights for the way the authorities botched the case and mishandled the women's remains.
The victims' mothers even came to doubt that the remains authorities had given them were their own children. In December 2003 they began working with Mercedes Doretti, a New York-based forensic anthropologist and co-founder of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team to get help in identifying the bodies.
Source: Scientific American