By Deborah Bonello / Los Angeles Times
A candle has been burning for almost a year in the modest front room of the tiny two-bedroom apartment that Guadalupe Reyes shares with her husband, Bernardo, and their 10-year-old daughter, Tania.
Next to the candle is a picture of their older daughter, Mariana. Her 19th birthday was this month, but the family hasn’t seen her since she left their house in a working-class area of the Tecamac municipality, in the state of Mexico, nearly a year ago. She went that day, Sept. 17, to a photocopy shop no more than a 10-minute walk away. After she had been gone an hour, her parents launched a frantic search that continues to this day.
They reported Mariana’s disappearance the next morning, but authorities suggested she had probably run off with her boyfriend.
About 25,000 people have gone missing in Mexico since 2006, according to estimates by the government and human rights groups. Not clear is how many of them may have been victims of foul play, but some fear that many are dead because of the high levels of violence since federal crackdowns against drug cartels that began that year.