Police in Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from the city of El Paso, Texas, have identified three young women whose bodies were found in a desert ravine on Monday. Authorities are now offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible responsible for these murders and of more than 300 other young women.
In the face of harsh criticism from victims' families, women's groups and human rights organizations, the chief prosecutor for the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Jose Solis, announced the reward offering. He says the prosecutor's office is offering a reward of 500 thousand pesos, about $50,000, an amount larger than any reward ever offered by that office, for information leading to the capture of the person or persons responsible for the murders.
Dozens of police investigators have been working at the desert location where the three bodies were found on Monday. Now that the three young women have been identified, their remains have been turned over to family members for burial.
Human rights groups in Juarez and across the Rio Grande river in El Paso are calling for more effective police work to end the decade-long string of killings. Some investigators suspect one or more serial killers could be involved in the murders. They say it is also possible that there are killers who reside on the U.S. side of the border and cross over occasionally to rape and murder women. Most victims are factory workers from poor families who must often come home at night through dark streets where there is little security.
Juarez has a reputation as a tough border town where violence is common. There have also been hundreds of murders related to drug trafficking and other criminal activities. Women's groups say domestic abuse of women is also a growing concern and that not enough is being done to curb the problem.