The identity of 27 corpses in Spain is a mystery. A mystery that could not be resolved despite the professional work of forensics. The advancement of medicine has not been able to overcome the difficult stumbling block of identifying dead immigrants who arrive in Spain. Some of these lost bodies have been buried while others wait in different morgues around the country. The future is the same in both cases: rest without a name and with the families unaware that their loved ones have died.
The unidentified death toll was confirmed a few weeks ago by the Government by Pedro Sanchez. Bildu deputy Jon Iñarritu asked the Executive in writing about the matter. On May 24, he received the response, to which Vozpópuli has had access. The balance offered is far from the reality disseminated by the organizations in charge of rescues.
Cartagena and Ceuta
In the first place, it must be clarified that the competence in matters of forensic Medicine is transferred to Autonomous communities. The Government, through the Ministry of Justice, has data for those powers that are: Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Illes Balears, Region of Murcia and the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
The Executive details that the number of corpses of possible migrants that were collected during the year 2022 was 43. Almost half of them were in Cartagena (17), a short distance from Ceuta (13). These two territories lead the table at a great distance from the rest: Ibiza (5), Melilla (5), Menorca (2) and Mallorca (1).
“Of them, 25 were identified, leaving 18 unidentified. All have been buried except 3, which are in the Ibiza chambers,” explained the Executive in response to the deputy. The figures for corpses so far this year have a projection similar to that of 2022, although it remains to be seen what happens in the summer season, where the arrival of immigrants in different boats is accentuated.
9 bodies pending identification this 2023
This 2023, until May 9, 15 bodies or remains have been received on the Spanish coasts. In this case, Ceuta (9) is the area where they are most concentrated, followed by Cartagena (4), Mallorca (1) and Melilla (1). Of these, 6 have been identified, while 9 remain to be identified. 10 bodies have been buried and 5 remain in the chambers, 3 of them in Cartagena, 1 in Melilla and Mallorca, respectively.
In this type of case, forensic evidence also has the indispensable collaboration of the Red Cross. This entity works through requests for searches of relatives of persons who have disappeared on the migratory route. According to data from the International Organization for Migration in the year 2021 about 3,300 people are considered missing in the migratory processes to Europe. Only 13% of the corpses have been recovered and, therefore, identified as deceased.
This is how corpses are identified
For this reason, the Red Cross developed a project to know their names. It is done through testimonials, tools, and the count of people who traveled in each boat at their departure and arrival, to the people who have died on their trip in a cayuco or similar. This operation began to be implemented in the Canary Islands. Later, it has spread to the southern part of the peninsula, the Levante area and the Balearic Islands due to the increase in migratory flows.
Since it was launched, 45 cases of arrivals have been investigated, in which 308 missing or deceased persons have been recorded, of which the 101 search requests received have been resolved. From The Red Cross specifies that they do not certify the death, but build the story of what probably happened, based on the facts verified, and the chances of survival. And it is that the possibility start the grieving process after this type of situation it happens to satisfy the need to know of the relatives. A duel that has not yet been able to take place in the 27 nameless corpses waiting to be identified.