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A mother who was searching for her disappeared child was allegedly shot and killed by drug cartels in Mexico.

The victim, identified as Maria Vázquez Ramírez, had been searching for her son Osmar, who disappeared in Abasolo in June earlier this year. However, during her search to find her disappeared son, Vázquez Ramírez was allegedly shot to death in the city of Abasolo by drug cartels on Sunday, Nov. 6. This marks the fifth murder of a volunteer search activist in Mexico since the start of 2021, CBS News reported.

The motive for the killing remains unclear. There are over 100,000 missing people in Mexico. Since the police officers often lack the time, expertise, or interest to look for the clandestine grave sites where gangs frequently bury them, the effort to find the bodies or graves has been left to volunteer search teams known as “colectivos.” These teams are mostly made up of mothers of the missing people, who often call themselves “Searching Mothers.”

Most searchers look for the bodies of their children and not for evidence to convict their killers.

Following her death, Vázquez Ramírez’s search group posted a tribute showing a photo of her with her missing son and the words, “I didn’t live long enough to find you.”

It was the second such killing in a month. Last month, in October, attackers in the central city of Puebla shot and killed Esmeralda Gallardo. Gallardo was leading efforts to find her missing 22-year-old daughter, Associated Press News reported.

According to Guanajuato security analyst David Saucedo, the searchers such as Vázquez Ramírez and Gallardo were killed by drug cartels. Santa Rosa de Lima and the Jalisco cartel have reportedly carried out a years-long turf war for control of Guanajuato state. They kill off rivals, kidnap victims and hide their bodies in mass graves or body dumping grounds.

“The cartels ... are burying the bodies in narco pits so they won’t be found, so they won’t be charged with kidnapping or murder,” Saucedo said. “If there is no body, there is no crime.”

“But the work of the search groups has been finding bodies, and that puts the narcos at risk,” Saucedo said.

“It is the government’s responsibility to guarantee the security of searching relatives, and it is also the government’s responsibility to search for all the missing people. Violence against searchers should not become the norm,” a volunteer umbrella group called Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico said.

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