Letters to Gemma

Mariceu Erthal Garcia

2017 - Ongoing

Veracruz, Mexico

Gemma Mávil left home for a job interview on May 3rd 2011 in Veracruz, México. A few hours later her father received a phone call, “Are you Pedro Mávil? We’ve got your daughter”, on the back Gemma’s hollers could be heard. They were asking for a million pesos, he could get 40 thousand. There were 3 people arrested, one died a few days after being apprehended in “the interrogation”, another one got free and the other one has refused giving details of the case.

Gemma was 29 when she went missing. She spoke 4 languages and was saving to be able to study a PhD. In Canada.

Since she went missing Pedro Mávil has been looking for her every day. Along with other parents of missing people. He’s walked under the shadows of vulnerability, re-victimization and the clandestine mass graves.

After 6 years of searching he discovered that she was murdered and found 4 months later after her kidnapping. It’s been said that her body was frozen and in fetal position. She was sent to a mass grave in Palo Verde, Xalapa, along with 192 other unidentified bodies. Since her DNA wasn’t included in the database at the office attorney, her identity hadn’t been linked to this case.

Three exhumations have been done nevertheless her body’s still missing. A legal proceeding has been opened against two government officials who could be linked to the illegal selling of missing bodies for scientific purposes.

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  • Selfpotrait in the Pool where Gemma used to swim almost every day after school.

  • Her jewelry

  • Gemma Hernández, Mother of Gemma

  • Pedro Mavil, Father of Gemma

  • Greenhouse where her cultivated flowers

  • Gemma in her 15th birthday

  • Palo Verde pantheon, Veracruz, México. Where her body should be according with the records.

  • Selfpotrait with Gemma's dress.

  • Unfinished Gemma’s self-portrait. This painting was recently found in a place where she took painting classes.