An unusual reunion took place in Mexicoafter a woman who had been kidnapped in 1995, when she was just 3 years old, was reunited with her mother shortly after learning that the people she had lived with since then were not her real family.
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“The first thing I said to my husband was where is he? And he replies ‘I don’t know’. I asked the policeman to close the doors because my daughter had just been robbed”, This is how Lorena Ramírez recalled for Telemundo News on October 1, 1995, the day her little daughter, Juana Bernal Ramírez, disappeared during a family walk to the Chapultepec forest, in Mexico City.
Immediately, the woman reported the disappearance to the Support Center for Missing and Absent Persons, from where they undertook a tireless search that included flyers with the little girl’s face and joined different civil associations in the search.
Despite their efforts, however, they received no news of Juana’s whereabouts.
“Every night I prayed to God to find her. She asked me where you will be, what will become of you, will she live on the street or will she take drugs? What I suffered as a mother was death in life”, Ramirez narrated.
After the disappearance, little Juana lived in Toluca with a family that the authorities presume would be the authors of the kidnapping. They changed her name to Rocío and, according to what her biological mother told the news program Despierta de Televisa, she spent all these years suffering mistreatment and discrimination.
“They did not treat her the same and one day she realized that she was not her daughter. She asks the lady and she replies: ‘the truth is I found you in Chapultepec, your parents abandoned you there and your name is not Rocío, your name is Juana Bernal”, Ramírez told the news.
Shortly after this episode, Juana began looking for information about it on the Internet and ended up coming across a publication made by a civil organization that included the flyer with the girl’s face.
Juana republished the ad, which ended up reaching the eyes of a neighbor of Lorena Ramírez and allowed one of her daughters to write to her on social networks. “My daughter sends her a message and says ‘I am Juana Bernal’s sister’, to which she replies ‘I am Juana Bernal, I am looking for my biological parents’”, recalls the woman excitedly.
From then on, both women went to the Attorney General’s Office (FGJ) to confirm that they were indeed mother and daughter. Despite the fact that from the first moment they saw each other they claim to have recognized themselves as such, Juana and Lorena had to wait for a genetic test to guarantee their relationship.
Finally, last Wednesday, the prosecutor Ernestina Godoy confirmed in a press conference that the test showed “a genetic match of 99.999 percent”, so it could be confirmed that Juana is the daughter of Lorena.
The Bernal Ramírez family regrets, however, that Juana’s father died three years ago without knowing what his daughter’s fate had been.
Prosecutor Godoy assured that both women continue to give their testimonies in the hope of clarifying what happened to Juana during all this time and being able to prosecute those responsible for the kidnapping.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.