The Valley of Death

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    Saul Reyes with his wife and three young sons are now seeking asylum in the United States. Six family members have been killed—four were Reyes' siblings. He is the last surviving male sibling in his family. (Photo by Vanessa Monsisvais)
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    The remains of a house that was destroyed in Guadalupe.
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    Human rights investigator Gustavo de la Rosa at his office in Juarez.
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    Saul Reyes' former bakery in Guadalupe.
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    Birth certificates, land titles and other personal documents that belonged to the Amaya family. The former political leaders were gunned down in Guadalupe. The documents are all that remain of the family.
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    Doll parts law in the rubble of what was once a house in the valley.
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    Tomas Archuleta, mayor of Guadalupe, in his office. The previous mayor was gunned down in 2010. "I was born here and I must have confidence in myself and reflect that confidence in my town. If not, who will my people follow? Who is the leader of the town?"
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    The valley, with a population of 20,000, has a murder rate of 1,600 per 100,000 inhabitants. Most of the valley's remaining residents have fled to Texas or Juarez.
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    Two residents of Porvenir in March 2010. The woman in white, who wishes to remain anonymous, had a son who was kidnapped and executed in August 2009. Many residents say they are forced to stay because they have nowhere to go, even though they live in fear on a daily basis.
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    A billboard promoting the Mexican army. Gustavo de la Rosa, an investigator for the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission, claims he received roughly 1,250 complaints by the end of 2009 against the Mexican Army.
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    A personal photo of the Reyes Salazar family during a protest against the Sierra Blanca nuclear waste dump in 1998. The family became the center of an international human rights scandal after gunmen murdered six members of the Reyes family—crimes the Mexican government failed to investigate.
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    Saul Reyes, the former city secretary of Guadalupe, had once been in charge of recording the births and deaths of everyone in his hometown. He has since taken it upon himself to collect the names of those who had died or disappeared in Guadalupe since 2008.
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    Saul Reyes in his bakery before the violence began.

To reach the deadliest place in Mexico, you take Carretera Federal 2, a well-paved stretch of highway that begins at the outskirts of Juarez, east for 50 miles along the Rio Grande, passing through cotton and alfalfa fields until you reach the rural Juarez Valley, said to have the highest murder rate in the country, if not the world.

Read more about Juarez Valley in “The Deadliest Place In Mexico,” by Melissa del Bosque.

Slideshow by Jen Reel.

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Published at 5:27 pm CST