Angry vigilantes in the Hidalgo municipality are brutally murdering people following online rumors of organ trafficking
In August an uncle and nephew were beaten and burned alive in Acatlán de Osorio
A day later an older couple was beaten and burned to death in Santa Ana Ahuehuepan after their truck was mistaken for a truck in a possible abduction attempt in a neighboring municipality
Last week an agent of the Tulancingo public prosecutor’s office was beaten and burned to death in Metepec
In Hidalgo, Mexico, vigilantes have been lynching what officials say are innocent people under the suspicion of crimes related to abducting children. The latest attack occurred in Metepec, which is one of the 84 municipalities of Hidalgo.
On August 30, a 56-year-old farm worker and his 21-year-old nephew were beaten then burned alive by residents of San Vicente Boquerón in Acatlán de Osorio. The State Attorney General claims the men appeared to be innocent at the time of their brutal murders.
It was reported the two men were drunk when residents began accosting them. Police took the two men into custody, but an angry mob took the two men out of police custody. Once they were at the mercy of the angry mob, the two men were tied up, beaten, then doused with gasoline and set on fire in front of the police station.
Martha Flores — the sister of the uncle who was killed — insists the men were not criminals. Flores said the two men were construction and farm workers and added the nephew was a law student at a university in Xalapa, Veracruz.
According to the regional prosecutor’s office, a preliminary investigation revealed no evidence either of the men had committed a crime. A week prior, state officials said that 14 people had been rescued from lynch mobs over an unspecified amount of time.
The day after the two men were killed, a 42-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman were beaten and lit on fire in Santa Ana Ahuehuepan— a town in the municipality of Tula — after being falsely accused of being child snatchers.
The attack in Santa Ana Ahuehuepan occurred after residents in the neighboring municipality of Tepetitlán claimed a suspicious pickup truck attempted to abduct a child in the town of Pedro María Anaya.
When a similar truck pulled into Santa Ana Ahuehuepan, an angry mob quickly formed and blocked the truck from moving then forced the man and woman to get out. The couple pleaded their innocence, but their voices fell on deaf ears.
Tula Mayor Ismael Gadoth Tapia stated that police arrived on the scene and attempted to rescue the couple, but the mob attacked officers and forced them to retreat. After forcing the officers to retreat, the mob proceeded to beat the couple then doused them in gasoline and lit them on fire. The man died at the scene of the crime and the woman died while during transport to a hospital in the area.
Most recently, on September 28, an agent of the Hidalgo prosecutor’s office was burned alive in the municipality of Metepec. Rumors spread there men were taking pictures of children which led to police making four arrests to investigate the accusation.
Before an investigation could be conducted, roughly 100 people gathered outside the municipal police headquarters where they managed to take custody of the four men. Once in the custody of the mob, the four men were beaten and one was lit on fire.
State police managed to rescue the four men from the angry crowd but the man who was lit on fire was declared dead upon arrival at the Red Cross in Tulancingo. The State Attorney General’s Office confirmed the deceased man was an agent of the Tulancingo public prosecutor’s office. Videos of the attack made their way on to a popular gore site.
There have been at least nine attempted lynchings in Hidalgo this year. In response to the vicious and misguided vigilante attacks, the state government has created a response team led by a state police coordinator to rescue people from lynch mobs.
The Public Security Secretariat has firmly stood by the argument that no gangs of child snatchers are currently detected in the Hidalgo area. Hidalgo Interior Secretary Simón Vargas Aguilar refuted rumors being spread on social media stating there were no recent reports of kidnappings in the state.
These are unfounded rumors. Until now there has been no report of a criminal act of that nature. Moreover, nobody should carry out justice by their own hand. That’s what the relevant authorities are for.
Rumors online claim kidnappings are occurring with the purpose of organ harvesting, but State Public Security Secretary Mauricio Delmar says police have tracked the posts and determined there is no truth to the claims. Social media users are allegedly posting photos of children who are not reported missing to fuel the online rumors.