The family of Mexican serial killer's first known victim protest at the site where bones were found

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The family and supporters of a missing woman who may have been the first victim of a Mexico City serial killer protested Friday at the site where the bones and possessions of a half-dozen women were found last week.

Protesters covered the facade of the apartment building with placards after investigators found the bones, cell phones and ID cards of several women at rented rooms there, apparent mementos of the killer's 12-year trail of victims.

Most of the placards taped to the non-descript apartment building on the city's east side Friday asked variants of a single question: Why did it take prosecutors 12 years to investigate the disappearance of Amairany Roblero, then 18.

The high school student vanished in 2012 and her parents never heard from her — or investigators — until last week, a pattern all too familiar in missing persons cases in Mexico, where prosecutors often leave it up to relatives to investigate.

“The prosecutors had the case file, but they didn't ever give any results to her parents,” said Alejandra Jiménez, a family friend who accompanied Amairany's parents in their search and at Friday's protest.

Her parents “printed up flyers, and they distributed them outside of her school” — the last place she was seen — “but her parents had nothing, nowhere to start, nor any directions to the end.”

In fact, prosecutors never caught the killer. It was neighbors and police who detained him last week after he allegedly broke into a neighbor’s apartment to kill his seventh victim, was interrupted and left a surviving witness.

The suspect — who was only identified by his first name, Miguel, according to Mexican law — apparently waited for a woman to leave her apartment last week and then rushed in and sexually abused and strangled her 17-year-old daughter.

The mother returned and saw the man leaving, but he slashed her in the neck and fled, authorities said. The mother survived but her daughter did not.

The suspect lived near the scene of the crime, and he was quickly identified and arrested. He has been ordered held over for trial on charges of murder and attempted murder, both related to the most recent victims.

While Mexico City authorities sought Thursday to downplay the case — city prosecutor Ulises Lara contended the killer was essentially unstoppable because “he showed no signs of violent or aggressive behavior in his daily life" — protesters weren't buying those excuses.

“They (authorities) have all the means to look for missing people,” Jiménez said. “Instead of focusing on their political campaigns, they should help all the women who are looking for their children.”

This week, prosecutors finally called Amairany's parents to tell them they had found unspecified “evidence” related to their daughter in a room the suspect rented.

Previously, investigators said they found blood stains, bones, a saw, cellphones and missing women’s ID cards, as well as other “biological material” in the rooms. They also found “a series of notebooks that may well be narrations of the acts that Miguel carried out against his victims.”

“But they haven't shown her parents any belongings, no clothing, no photo, nothing,” said Jiménez. “This is wearing down her parents physically, mentally.”

Juan Carlos Gutiérrez, a lawyer who represents the family of another suspected victim, questioned why authorities didn’t investigate her disappearance earlier — acting only when evidence linked to her case showed up at the suspect’s apartment.

“Why was there never an investigation, why were people never interviewed, despite missing person reports being filed starting in 2015?” Gutiérrez said.

Without proper funding, training or professionalism, prosecutors in Mexico’s capital have routinely failed to stop serial killers until the number of victims reaches a point that can’t be ignored.

In 2021, a serial killer in a Mexico City suburb was only caught after years of alleged crimes — 19 bodies were found hacked up and buried at his house — because his final victim was the wife of a police commander. The commander burst into the suspect's house with a bunch of other cops, only to find a scene of horror.

In 2018, a serial killer in Mexico City responsible for the deaths of at least 10 women was caught only when he was found pushing a dismembered body down the street in a baby carriage. He had dumped most of the bodies of his victims in vacant lots.


Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at