Kidnapped Student Found Dead After 20k-GBP Ransom Paid

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCEN

This university student who was kidnapped has been found dead despite his family having paid a 20,000-GBP ransom to have him released.

Twenty-two-year-old university student Norberto Ronquillo was found dead in the municipality of Xochimilco, in the Mexican capital, Mexico City, the general prosecution of Mexico City has confirmed.

Ronquillo, who studied at Pedregal University and who was from the state of Chihuahua, left the university in the evening last week in his white Toyota Yaris.

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Pictures Credit: CEN & CEN/Norberto Hernandez & CEN/Jen Ro

He reportedly wrote to his girlfriend saying he was driving to his uncle and aunt’s house where he lived in Mexico City.

However, he never arrived and hours later his relatives were contacted by alleged kidnappers asking them for a ransom of 5 million MXN (205,470 GBP) for their nephew.

They reported the case to the anti-kidnapping prosecution, but later decided to negotiate with the kidnappers for unknown reasons, prosecutor Ernestina Godoy said to local media. 

They paid the equivalent of 26,000 USD (20,461 GBP) at a point agreed by the kidnappers around four kilometres from the university.

His parents travelled to the capital to find their son but he was never returned to them. Authorities then began investigating the case again but they only found his car, which had been abandoned near the university.

Local residents organised protests to ask the authorities to find Ronquillo and the University also sent a press statement complaining that no more information had been given about the location of the student who was expected to celebrate finishing his degree with his classmates. 

Ronquillo’s body was found by investigators in the neighbourhood of Santa Cruz Acalpixca in the municipality of Xochimilco, around nine kilometres from the university.

According to local media, it is believed that he was killed the same day or the day after his kidnapping. Forensic investigators confirmed that he had been strangled to death, but the definitive cause of death will be officially revealed soon. It was also said that his body showed signs of having been beaten. 

His girlfriend, Jennifer Rosenfeld, posted online a message saying: “I will be waiting for you here, love you!”

Local media report that a police officer from the Secretary of Citizen Security is under investigation for allowing a cousin of Norberto to take his car to his relatives’ house despite it being an important piece of evidence to find fingerprints and other evidence. The evidence could have been manipulated by mistake in the incident.

Prosecutor Godoy said that an organised criminal organisation was not involved in the crime and added that the case is under investigation, informing that the kidnapping could have been done by a group of people, saying “it is not a single person”.

The President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said to reporters that “there is a debt in security matters in his government”.

According to the NGO Alto al Secuestro (Stop Kidnapping), the number of kidnappings in Mexico City rose by 42.6 percent between January and April 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.

The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been reported.

Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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