The body of an 18-year-old Mexican woman whose image went viral after she was snapped standing by the road shortly before she disappeared two weeks ago has been found in the cistern of an abandoned motel.
Debanhi Escobar disappeared on the stretch of road that leads into the Mexican city of Nuevo Laredo, on the border with the US, at around 6am on 9th April.
She had been on a night out with two friends when she got into a rideshare cab with a driver the group trusted, identified as Jesus, 47. He abandoned her by the side of the road for reasons still unclear, although it is believed the pair became embroiled in a row.
After a 13-day search, her father Mario Escobar confirmed that the body of a young woman found in the cistern of the disused Nueva Castilla motel, a few metres from where Debanhi disappeared, was his daughter. However, the local authorities have yet to confirm the match and DNA tests are currently ongoing.
On Friday morning, a team of divers found the body in the cistern at a depth of about four metres.
The victim’s father said: “My daughter is dead and I do not know what to do.
“I demand to know why Debanhi disappeared.”
News of the teenager’s disappearance gripped Mexico after an eerie photo of her standing by the roadside after getting out of the taxi was widely shared by local media.
The photo was reportedly taken by the cab driver and was sent to the victim’s friends when they asked him about her whereabouts.
In 2021, 77 people disappeared on ‘Death Road’ where Debanhi was last seen.
CCTV cameras filmed Debanhi entering the site of the trucking company Alcosa Transportes Internacionales just after the cabbie left her stranded.
She was reported as missing the next morning. CCTV footage reportedly shows her entering the company premises, but no footage shows her leaving.
Her body was found in the motel cistern nearby, between 300 and 500 metres from where she was photographed on the side of the road.
According to local reports, the driver, booked by one of the victim’s friends, had his phone switched off during the trip. He has since been arrested on drugs charges but the police also suspect him of being linked to the young woman’s death.
Local media also said that the taxi driver has been investigated for the attempted kidnapping of women and harassment in the past.
The investigation continues.
According to the National Missing Persons Commission, seven women are reported as missing in Mexico every day.