An average of almost two Peruvians per day go missing in Peru; never to be found

O n the 8th of February during his television programme Beto a Saber, Peruvian journalist Beto Ortiz shared some  incredibly worrying figures about Peruvians that have gone missing in 2017. The programme revealed that 627 Peruvians went missing last year and that the authorities have absolutely no idea as to their whereabouts. In some cases, there are clues but nothing is done to solve the case. In one particularly dramatic case, a mother said that the murderer of her daughter had confessed and was even captured by the police, but for some incomprehensible reason, her daughter´s killer was not behind bars. To make mattes even worse, the body of the victim was never found.

Earlier this week, a group of mothers in despair united in front of the headquarters of the Peruvian Criminal Investigation Department (Divincri) of the National Police in Lima. Although these mothers are from different areas of Peru, have different backgrounds and different age ranges, they have one miserable thing in common; one of their sons or daughters has been reported missing. Understandably, these mothers wouldn’t be standing there if the investigators had any leads, or at least clues that could solve their cases.

Alongside these protests, national newspaper El Comercio has denounced that the website listing Peruvian missing persons (Peruanos desaparecidos) is currently offline. Even more shocking is that in the years during the governments of former presidents Alejandro Toledo, Alan García and Ollanta Humala, from the 28th of July 2001 until the 28th of July 2016, no register for missing persons was developed. This is currently being remedied. During 2017, the National Police has finally started a process of creating a national register for missing Peruvians.

In the Huaraz area, Jesse Galganov´s case has caused his loved ones untold despair, as does the case of Nathaly Salazar Ayala who went missing in the Cusco area in January. The Huaraz Telegraph recently found out that Jesse is not the only Canadian in Peru who has gone missing in 2017. There´s also the case of Julie Anne Baker, a mother of five children who practiced canoeing in the Lunahuaná River in Cañete. Relatives of the 37-year-old Canadian citizen are desperate to find her, having been missing since April 24th. According to reports, the last time she was seen was in the Lunahuaná river, in Cañete, where she was in the company of another tourist and two Peruvian citizens she met on the trip. According to the immigration record, she never left the country. Her registration form indicates that she entered the country on May 14th of last year, but never left.

A couple of days ago, the parents and sister of Jesse Galganov celebrated his 23rd birthday, still with no idea where he may be. So far more than one million dollars has been spent on his search but without any positive results so far. Investigators of the Israeli Search and Rescue Company Magnus International have designated Taullipampa as Jesse’s last known location and Jesse´s father Todd is back in Huaraz to hang up more posters. Todd Galganov indicated to our editor once more not to have given up and not to leave Peru until he finds back his son.

On a local level and as referred to in an earlier published editorial on our website, there are also many worrying cases of missing persons. There is the case of a 27-year-old Peruvian who went missing on the 28th of December in 2016, leaving his house but never to return. Also worrying is the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old teenager who went missing on the 18th of May of 2017. In 2016 too, a mother and her two children went missing in the city of Huaraz and still haven’t been found. Finally, Santa Lirio Cerna, daughter of historic peasant leader in the 80s, Macedonio Lirio León, left her house in December 2016 and is still missing.

Sadly, these are not the only persons in the Huaraz area who have gone missing recently. After just a bit of a research we also found out about the disappearance of another 27 year-old, who vanished on March 19, 2017. Logically her parents and loved ones are still desperately looking for her. And what to think about the case of a 14 year-old adolescent, a native of La Molina in Lima who is still missing. To date nothing is known; the minor went for a walk with her friends, never to return home. There is also the case of an 18 year-old who disappeared in the district of Independencia near Huaraz. This person appears to have visited a discotheque in Huaraz, the same one as attended  by the aforementioned 27-year-old, and until today nobody knows his whereabouts.

Unfortunately, 2018 began where 2017 ended. On the 8th of January, Miller Yofré Hurtado Espinoza (18) strangely disappeared. Teolinda Gloria Espinoza Melgarejo, mother of the missing young man, informed the local press that her son Miller is a student and worked in trade. As a native of Pomabamba his mother suspects he was on his way from Huaraz towards his home town. And just yesterday we were informed about two other missing persons in the Ancash region. Sisters Nora Karina Chagua Pérez (30) and Celia Luzy Bailon Pérez (13) were reported missing by their father Miguel Bailon Paucar. According to an offical police search report, the two were last seen in a place called Puna Cancal in Huallanca on the first of January this year. However, their disappearance has just recently reached the news. This last case piles on top of the many others that have been registered in the Callejón de Huaylas and Conchucos area, and it is estimated that 20 more identical disappearance cases are still unsolved.

Photo: a poster of Jesse Galganov in an alley near the centre of Huaraz

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