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Unidentified corpses pile up in Baja

Website set up for unclaimed bodies — 1132 in 18 months

Between 2013 and June of this year, Baja California medical examiners have been unable to identify more than 1100 cadavers presented to them for autopsy.

Most of the unclaimed bodies have been buried in unmarked common graves in the cities where they were found, Dr. Francisco Acuña Campa, chief of the state forensic medical service, told the regional daily El Mexicano.

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Baja California ranks first in Mexico in the number of unidentified corpses, he told the newspaper.

Of the unidentified corpses, 784 were from Tijuana, 248 from Mexicali, and 100 from Ensenada, Acuña Campa said.

In an effort to resolve the problem, the state Forensic Medical Service has developed a program that aims to reduce the number of unidentified bodies, he said.

Pathologists will keep detailed records of exactly where the bodies were found and four or five identifying characteristics of the corpses when possible. Relatives who believe they may have lost a family member in Baja California and have been unable to locate him or her can contact the state forensic service in Mexicali, the state capital, Acuña Campa said.

A website with a link to the program should be functioning soon, and through it, relatives from anywhere in the world can provide identifying information about missing family members. The agency will then try to match the information with data collected by pathologists. If a match is confirmed, family members will be permitted to claim the remains.

Acuña Campa speculated that many of the bodies are likely from Central America, noting that one body has already been identified by family members from Honduras.

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Between 2013 and June of this year, Baja California medical examiners have been unable to identify more than 1100 cadavers presented to them for autopsy.

Most of the unclaimed bodies have been buried in unmarked common graves in the cities where they were found, Dr. Francisco Acuña Campa, chief of the state forensic medical service, told the regional daily El Mexicano.

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Baja California ranks first in Mexico in the number of unidentified corpses, he told the newspaper.

Of the unidentified corpses, 784 were from Tijuana, 248 from Mexicali, and 100 from Ensenada, Acuña Campa said.

In an effort to resolve the problem, the state Forensic Medical Service has developed a program that aims to reduce the number of unidentified bodies, he said.

Pathologists will keep detailed records of exactly where the bodies were found and four or five identifying characteristics of the corpses when possible. Relatives who believe they may have lost a family member in Baja California and have been unable to locate him or her can contact the state forensic service in Mexicali, the state capital, Acuña Campa said.

A website with a link to the program should be functioning soon, and through it, relatives from anywhere in the world can provide identifying information about missing family members. The agency will then try to match the information with data collected by pathologists. If a match is confirmed, family members will be permitted to claim the remains.

Acuña Campa speculated that many of the bodies are likely from Central America, noting that one body has already been identified by family members from Honduras.

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