US teen killed in Juárez puts spotlight on Mexico's unsolved murders
Unresolved recent killings of a US missionary and a vacationing jet-skier raise questions about the ability of Mexico's weak judiciary to investigate the weekend shooting of a US teen.
At least one US citizen was among three teenagers fatally shot this weekend in the violent border city of Juárez, Mexican authorities confirmed today, in the latest case of Americans caught up in Mexico's drug war.Skip to next paragraph
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But bringing the perpetrators to justice may prove difficult for the US citizens involved, just as it has for the tens of thousands of Mexicans seeking justice from a weak judicial system often incapable of incarcerating organized criminals.
Local radio reported that gunmen approached the teens Saturday at a car dealership, demanding the name of the dealership’s owner and opening fire when the boys did not respond. “They were looking at cars at an auto lot when men came and fired at them. We are investigating whether they were the initial targets or not,” Chihuahua state prosecutors' spokesman Carlos Gonzalez told the Monitor.
Despite reports that two of the teenagers were Americans, Mr. Gonzalez says only 15-year-old Juan Carlos Echeverri was a US citizen. He and 16-year-old Carlos Mario Gonzalez Bermudez both lived in Juárez and at various times commuted to El Paso to attend the all-boys Catholic Cathedral High School. The third teenager was Cesar Yalin Miramontes Jimenez, 17.
The US embassy in Mexico City today said it had yet to identify the teens' citizenship.
Complications in cross-border prosecutions
Americans have repeatedly fallen victim to Mexico's drug war, which has claimed 34,612 lives over the past four years. The latest killings come less than two weeks after 59-year-old US missionary Nancy Shuman Davis was shot in the border state of Tamaulipas by gunmen who tried to stop her and her husband in their car. She died in a Texas hospital.
A spokesman for the Tamaulipas state prosecutor’s office told the Monitor that US and Mexican investigators are working together to find the killers of Mrs. Davis. But because the death occurred on the US side of the border, the gunmen were being investigated in Mexico for discharging their weapons and not for murder.
Murky cross-border laws may prove another hindrance to bringing Davis’s killers to justice, as has happened in similar cases, legal and security experts say.