MEXICO CITY – An apparent combination of schizophrenia, marginalization and fear caused two Mexican sisters to be kept locked up for 30 years in a room of their house in the northern state of Chihuahua.
The inspector general of the State Human Rights Commission, or CEDH, in the Parral area, Amin Corral Shaar, told Efe on Friday that the two women are Francisca and Luz Ofelia Valles Campos, ages 35 and 38, respectively.
Both were rescued Tuesday from a room in their family’s home in the remote rural community of Bufalo, after Mayor Gilberto Garcia Mendoza of Allende, the state capital, contacted the CEDH.
As a result of the report, Corral traveled the 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Parral to Bufalo to investigate the case and found a surprising family scene in the home where the victims lived like prisoners.
Staying in the house were the father “who is growing old and doesn’t work” and the mother of the two daughters, as well as their three sons.
“Apparently the whole family suffers from mental disabilities” and cooperate on keeping the two women locked up. The only one who works is the eldest brother, who has a pig farm and provides them with food,” Corral said.
When they got to the house, the authorities had to force the door open to the room where the victims were hidden, supposedly “of their own free will,” according to the CEDH.
“The room smelled because they hadn’t washed in years” and the two women were “only covered with a blanket,” he said.
They were suffering from different infections and one of the sisters was taken to a public clinic in Allende to be treated for ulcerated injuries on different parts of her body.
“This is the strangest case we’ve seen in a long time, I never saw anything like it,” Corral said.
He said that at the time he stepped in with the aid of local police, several relatives and neighbors were present who refused to talk about the strange case.
In the remote area where the house stands, “ignorance prevails” and some 30 years ago the rumor was going around that local drug traffickers “were going to kidnap all the little boys and girls.”
Fear was also stirred up when one of the biggest shipments of marijuana in the history of Mexico was seized, nearly 10,000 tons, in an operation associated with the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena.