FJA 2019 / Shortlist
Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting
Wendy Selene Pérez Becerra, Paula Mónaco Felipe (Mexico)
("The Bone Searchers: A New Trade in a Country of Mass Graves")
May 15, 2019
Traditional mortuary rites are no longer enough in Mexico, where a new trade has come to exist over the past few years: that of the bone searchers. In Veracruz, one of the deadliest states in Mexico, six men have the job of digging through clandestine graves for the human remains hidden there. For the most part, they are not parents on the trail of their disappeared children, nor are they volunteers. They are day laborers, who dig the land in exchange for a salary paid by relatives of the disappeared, in a country with more than 40,000 disappeared and more than 240,000 murders over the last 12 years.