EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican police came up empty this week in their search for three nursing students missing since 2018.
Officers acting on a tip searched the area around a lake in the town of Matamoros, Chihuahua, for the bodies of Sigrid Casandra Diaz, Mayra Guadalupe Mendoza and Oswaldo Galvan Rodriguez. The three nursing students from the nearby city of Parral were forcibly abducted in May of 2018 by what the Chihuahua state police described at the time as an “armed commando unit.”
The abduction victims shared an apartment in Parral and worked at the same hospital. A fourth roommate, Merari Lozano, reportedly had been abducted earlier, but police on Thursday had no specific information on her.
The officers did not find any bodies this week but recovered 40 spent bullet casings from around Torreoncillo Lake and found signs of several clandestine bonfires, the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said.
Mexican media initially linked the abductions to possible drug activity. However, sources at the AG’s Office on Thursday said the abductions were connected to a prostitution ring and two former police officers.
One of the officers, Omar Ivan R.J., was arrested in 2019 on kidnapping charges and is a suspect in the disappearance of the nursing students, the state police said.
Omar Ivan and a second former policeman, Francisco Luis B., have also been linked to the arrest of Claudia Palmira Monzalvo Acosta, a.k.a. “La Pamy,” who allegedly provided escorts to members of the Sinaloa cartel, sources in the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said.
Monzalvo was convicted in June of the sexual exploitation of two women ages 17 and 24. She was sentenced to 57 years in prison in September.
The Attorney General’s Office said Monzalvo would recruit young, economically disadvantaged women, take them out to private parties or fly them to ranches around the state for purposes of prostitution. The AG’s Office said Montalvo would typically charge her customers $175 but only pay the women $25 to $40.
A source at the Attorney General’s Office on Thursday told Border Report that Monzalvo would be charged with murder as well.