Deborah Bickel, who operates Be Well San Miguel and provides patient advocacy services, writes on mexiconewdaily.com that the case of a “missing” expat neighbor highlights the need to plan for medical emergencies and even death…
I received an email in September from someone who had not heard from a friend in San Miguel de Allende who was in the practice of sending near daily emails.
After the police entered his home with a friend and found no sign of anyone, friends of the missing person (a vigorous man in his early 70s with diabetes) began to search.
The police did not issue a missing persons report because the man was only known to have been missing for a day or two. But by day three his house was cordoned off as police decided it was a crime scene despite the fact that a hungry dog was trapped inside in unseasonable heat.
A few brave souls entered to feed and water the dog, which was locked in a porch area so they didn’t have to enter the house itself.
With help from the United States consular office we searched morgues, hospitals, favorite haunts where our friend liked to hang out, train tracks and deserted fields.
We could not go back into his house to see if there were any clues or signs of foul play. That was claimed to be the purview of the police and we were strictly prohibited from entering “the crime scene.”
Two days later friends of the victim entered the house, ignoring the crime scene tape, and found his body. Five days later the police finally agreed to re-enter the house, where they too found our “missing” friend’s body by his bed, where it should have been completely visible the first time they searched.
As expatriates we might expect far better police work and more active involvement from the U.S. consular office. (Note this is not his fault as he is not able to assist in such cases. Once police have declared a crime his purview is extremely limited.)
I have lived in San Miguel de Allende for three years now and have witnessed more than a few unnecessarily agonizing deaths of expatriates. This most recent one has a lot of similarities to a death reported in the Chapala area.
It is not a death at the hands of narcos or through random violence but rather just death by a fall or a simple accident. I would say it is a death made more horrible by lack of planning and community awareness of our vulnerability as visitors and expatriates in a land that has far fewer resources to spend on its own citizens than we northerners may come to expect.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Yucatan Times.
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