Published September 18, 2018
Mexican investigating after residents complained of a foul smell coming from a refrigerated truck reportedly found 157 unidentified bodies in the back of the trailer near the city of Guadalajara.
Neighbors’ complaints about the truck caused authorities to change its location a few times. It went from a morgue parking lot to another government-run lot, before it finally wound up in a field behind a housing development. The bodies were stored in the truck due to overcrowding at morgues.
State and local authorities have struggled as an unprecedented number of bodies pile up from Mexico's rising tide of violence. Officials recorded 16,339 homicides across Mexico in the first seven months of this year, an increase of 17 percent from the same period of 2017. Morgues in several of the country's states have run out of room.
"This is a demonstration of insensitivity on the part of some public servants," said Roberto Lopez Lara, the Jalisco state interior secretary. He said the truck would be moved back to the morgue and an investigation would be carried out to see who made the decision.
While refrigeration can slow the decomposition of bodies, many of the corpses had been recovered from clandestine graves in the state and are already rotted, officials said.
Javier Perlasca, an inspector for the state human rights commission, said that "this was a mistake...and it is bothering the neighbors" as well as causing pain for victims' families.
"It is time to end these comings and goings that only outrage and hurt people," Perlasca said, adding the bodies should be given a decent burial.
Reuters reported that authorities in Jalisco were working on making a new facility that would hold 700 bodies. The facility was expected to be completed within the next month and a half.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.