Investigators declared on Thursday, May 26, that they will ask a judge to allow the exhumation of the body of a young woman found in a motel’s water tank in April in an effort to clarify the cause of her death.
Debanhi Escobar, 18, was found dead days after getting out of a taxi on a dark highway near the northern city of Monterrey, Nuevo León.
Griselda Núñez Espinoza, Nuevo Leon’s prosecutor for femicides, said that a state and federal task force decided that exhumation was necessary following differing results from two initial studies.
Nuevo Leon state’s head medical examiner initially said Escobar died from a blow to the head, but was apparently alive when she entered the cistern and there was no water in her lungs. But another forensic analysis of the original autopsy requested by Escobar’s family concluded that she had been sexually assaulted and murdered.
“What is happening is to give certainty to the victim’s relatives and to the process itself,” Núñez said. She said the exhumation was not meant to undermine the work that had already been done.
The prosecutor’s office was preparing the request for the judge overseeing the case, she said.
The case made headlines because of a haunting photo taken by a driver who was supposed to get her home that night. It was not clear why she got out of the car, but her father, Mario Escobar, has said prosecutors told him that surveillance camera footage suggested the driver inappropriately touched his daughter.