As if the kidnapping problem in Mexico has not been severe enough, it is now getting worse at a terrifying scale.

Hundreds of people disappear without a trace every year, and in the instances that they do come back, they are no longer alive, sometimes in pieces.

Authorities suspect the kidnappers are drug cartels desperate for cash from ransom money or carrying out a mission to intimidate rivals.

Beginning in 2006, Mexican criminal organizations started to engage in kidnapping and extortion tactics in the hope of acquiring ransom money to fund their activities.

To run underground enterprises effectively, they require extensive personnel and a sizable supply of assault weapons to defend themselves from Mexican law enforcement and rival gangs. 

Their kidnapping targets are often individuals from wealthy families, improving their chances of actually getting ransom money. Among the high-profile victims was Susana Carrera, who was declared missing in February 2019.

She was a businesswoman and co-owner of an aluminum company. Security camera footage showed someone forcefully coercing her into an unidentified vehicle.

It appeared that the kidnappers had been following her for some moments before. Then, just a week later, her lifeless body was found inside a trash bag.

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10 /10 Her Body Discovered

On February 13, 2019, the body of Susana Carrera was found in a parking lot in Coatzacoalcos in the state of Veracruz, Mexico.

The captors put her body inside a black trash bag attached with a message indicating that she was murdered because her husband did not want to pay ransom money.

Kidnappers were asking for 4 million pesos (around $200,000) to free her. 

Authorities in the city discovered at around 11 p.m. It later came to light that Mrs. Carrera was decapitated. However, it remains unclear whether the decapitation was premortem or postmortem.

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9 /10 The Kidnapping

CCTV camera captured when Mrs. Carrera was forcefully rushed into a vehicle a week earlier in the Playa Sol neighborhood of Coatzacoalcos.

Local media reported that she was about to pick up one of her children from a friend’s house.

Seconds after she rang the doorbell, a car pulled up to the house then the kidnapper approached her from behind.

The unidentified vehicle quickly drove off. It took less than 15 seconds when she rang the doorbell to the point the captor made her enter the car.



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8 /10 Aluminum Company Owner

Susana Carrera, along with her husband Luis Manriquez, was co-owner of Pexaluminio, an aluminum company, making her an ideal target for kidnappers associated with drug cartels.

The note attached to the trash bag said something to the effect of “it happened to me because my husband wouldn’t pay the ransom money,” although the literal translation is much more vulgar.

Hours after the body was found, Manriquez confirmed the murder on his Facebook account.

In the post, he expressed his gratitude for everybody’s prayers that his wife could return home, but it became impossible now since she had passed away.

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7 /10 Increased Kidnapping In The City

According to Coatzacoalcos Citizen Observatory, however, kidnappings had already grown increasingly concerning by the time of her death. In 2018 alone, there were 49 kidnappings and 160 homicides.

Residents took their anger to Mayor Victor Manuel Carranza. As a result, they were accusing him of not doing his job well enough, especially in combating crimes.

The mayor regretted not including Coatzacoalcos in the list of the most violent regions in the country.

Had the list included the city, as many as 600 additional federal officers would have been deployed there permanently.

6 /10 More Violence

Many criminal organizations in the region operate from Coatzacoalcos, the largest city on the Gulf of Mexico.

As a result, high impact crimes such as extortion, kidnappings, and even executions are becoming more common in the region. Women’s abductions are getting more violent as well.

The beheading of Susana Carrera is seen as a signal from criminal organizations that nobody is in the position to negotiate the amount of ransom money or terms of the exchange.

The murder of Mrs. Carrera showcased how far they could go to get what they want.

5 /10 Fuel Theft

Some people think that the increased rate of high-impact crimes is not merely because of criminal organizations in the regions. The arrest of an alleged organized crime leader has further escalated the underlying issue. 

The recent spike in violence is also happening due to the high unemployment rate. In addition, in the areas near the Minatitlan refinery (one of the most important in Mexico), there has been an increase in fuel theft.

4 /10 Second Lady Killed That Week

Just several days before Mrs. Carrera’s body was found, authorities also discovered the body of a 30-year-old woman identified Jane Rodriguez Martinez, who had been missing since January.

Kidnappers asked the Martinez family to pay 500,000 pesos (around $26,000).

Even after they had delivered the payment in an undisclosed location, Martinez was not released alive. Her body was found in Tlacotalpan, about 140 miles northwest of Coatzacoalcos. 

In the case of Susana Carrera, kidnappers never received the ransom money. Her family confirmed that they were not able to provide the amount asked by the captors.

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3 /10 Her Captors Knew Her Too Well

There have been speculations that the captors knew Mrs. Carrera is well enough that they knew where she was going that night and with whom.

Therefore, they must have been following her for quite a while. Otherwise, they would think twice, for they had no idea whether or not she brought someone with her to the friend’s house. 

Some even suggest that the investigation should look into the family itself or their business operations.

Authorities need to dig deeper into business competitors or perhaps close allies and relatives because there is a slight chance that they are involved.

2 /10 Medical Examiner's Office Leak

Local media obtained photos showing Mrs. Carrera’s body and a copy of the note attached to the plastic bag.

Unfortunately, the photographs were taken in the medical examiner’s office and were not supposed to be released to the public, at least not for a time.

The Office of the Attorney General now has to use resources to investigate the leak too. It might also interfere with the actual murder investigation itself due to a breach of secrecy.

1 /10 Have Her Killers Been Found?

A year after her body was found in the plastic bag, a publication about the murder case of Susana Carrera dwindled. It has been more than two years since then, but there does not seem to be any meaningful progress in the investigation.

The attorney general office has been criticized for emphasizing the investigation of the leaked photos instead of the murder case.

The allegation that Luis Manriquez also has ties to drug cartels in the region has not been confirmed. No suspect has been arrested.

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