Latin America & Caribbean

Marco Antonio Sánchez: Missing Mexico teen found after five days

Relatives and students hold posters reading "Where is he?" as they protest against the disappearance of student Marco Antonio Sanchez, at the Angel de la Independencia monument in Mexico City on January 28, 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds of people demonstrated on Sunday demanding answers about the boy's disappearance

Marco Antonio Sánchez, the Mexican secondary school student whose disappearance five days ago triggered protests, has been located.

Marco, 17, was found on Sunday evening wandering Melchor Ocampo, north of Mexico City, near where a court had released him the previous evening.

Police in Mexico City had arrested him on Tuesday for allegedly stealing a mobile phone he was using.

His whereabouts where unknown for five days and a city-wide alarm was raised.

Why did his disappearance cause such public concern?

Hundreds of people took part in a march in Mexico City calling for his safe return.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The high-school student disappeared after being arrested on Tuesday

The teenager was arrested by police on Tuesday while taking photos in Azcapotzalco, in north-western Mexico City.

Officers accused the student of stealing the mobile phone he was using to take the photos and took him away, a witness said.

His parents contacted the local prosecutor's office in Azcapotzalco the same day but were told their son had been released by the officers.

Yet when they did not hear from their son, they began to fear he had been abducted.

Mexican security forces have been accused of committing human rights abuses in the past, including torture and murder.

In one of the most infamous cases, 43 students disappeared in the Mexican town of Iguala after a confrontation with the security forces. One of their bodies was later found.

Mexico City's human rights commission demanded that police open an investigation into what happened to Marco Antonio Sánchez.

What action is being taken over Marco's treatment?

Four of the officers involved in his arrest were questioned. Two of them are in detention and are being investigated for allegedly failing to follow due protocol.

But it was only until Sunday that city officials announced that the student had been released the previous evening after a court in Tlalnepantla, just north of where he was arrested, ruled there were no charges for him to answer.

They also released CCTV footage of the youth showing him being escorted by police into the courthouse in Tlalnepantla.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption CCTV footage showed the student being escorted by police into a courthouse

Marco was found almost 24 hours later and has been reunited with his family.

It is not yet clear what exactly happened to him between his arrest on Tuesday and his court appearance on Saturday night or why his parents were not informed of his arrest.

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