Unidentified bodies are buried in a mass grave in Tijuana in 2018.

Where are Mexico’s disappeared?
Many have been in government graves all along

After hearing that her 44-year-old son had been murdered in downtown Tijuana, Guadalupe Aragón Sosa went searching for him.

She gave police a sample of her DNA, but they said they found no hits when they checked it against a database of unidentified bodies.

She spent hours at the local morgue, flipping through black-and-white photographs of unclaimed corpses, but her Carlos was not among them.

Guadalupe Aragón Sosa holds a photo of her late son Carlos in Tijuana in 2019.

She scoured fields and garbage dumps on the outskirts of town where local thugs were known to bury their victims, probing the soil with a metal rod in search of a whiff of decaying flesh. She unearthed about a dozen cadavers, but not her son.

Nearly a year passed before she finally learned his fate in late 2018: He had been in a government grave all along.