Except for a single wooden crucifix hanging from a nail, the crime lab’s morgue looks antiseptic, with stark white walls and silver-railed beds. I’ve been there for less than an hour when the medical examiner wheels in a body encased in wet garbage bags. With help, he hoists the mass onto a stainless steel body tray, and immediately, the crew goes to work, cutting the plastic away, one layer at a time, the way a child carefully pries the wrapping paper from a birthday present. It appears the victim, a late-20s male, was beaten, suffocated and then dumped in a canal. The cartels call these corpses regalos, or gifts.
A handful of plain-clothed investigators hover while the forensics workers dutifully collect evidence: snapping pictures, snipping hair samples, swiping under fingernails. The lead detective voices her displeasure that I’m here, but the guys in the lab coats just smile. She can stomp her feet all she wants, but this forensics lab, in Guadalajara, isn’t police turf. The son of God peers down from above; the badge has no jurisdiction here.
I am doubtful that even the best laid plans for law & order reform in Mexico will ever have a lasting effect.
The subject of tainted forensic evidence is one that fascinates me and Canada is not immune to such scandals.