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Mexican father confesses to killing children in Tepito abduction case

Tepito missing children The case of two children allegedly abducted from Mexico City's tough Tepito barrio took a grisly turn when the children's father admitted to authorities that he killed them after staging the abduction himself (link in Spanish). The decomposing bodies of the toddlers -- Darien Isai and Isis Liliana Covarrubias -- were found in black bags near Tepeyac Park in the north of the city. Their father, Javier Covarrubias, has admitted to suffocating them to death, Mexico City police said.

As La Plaza reported last week, residents of Tepito erupted in chaotic protests over what they claimed was a spate of child abductions in their neighborhood. The Covarrubias children were cited as the prime example, but authorities and news reports maintained there had been no confirmed string of recent child kidnappings in Tepito.

When confronted, Covarrubias at first told authorities he had concocted a plan to report his children kidnapped while he sold them to a woman for $25,000 pesos, or about $1,925 dollars, to cover a debt. The children went missing May 18, and Covarrubias himself disappeared until authorities caught up with him on Sunday in the state of Hidalgo.

His wife, the children's mother, Irma Merino, had pleaded publicly in recent days for Covarrubias to reappear so they could locate the children.

Child and infant human-trafficking cases frequently make the news in Mexico, stoking fear across social classes. Now police say Covarrubias made up the debt story as well. It's not clear why he chose to end his children's lives.

The case has cast a spotlight on safety and order issues in Tepito, a dense and historic downtown barrio known as an incubator for Mexico's boxing legends and its strong pachuco culture, but also as an almost impenetrable black market for pirated goods, drugs and weapons. As fear of child abductions spread among Tepito's residents starting late last month, scores of young people took to the streets on June 1, clashing with police and briefly hijacking a city tour bus. Seventy-seven people were arrested in the disturbances.

Opposition politicians in Mexico City's Legislative Assembly have called on Mayor Marcelo Ebrard to clamp down on trafficking and deal with insecurity in Tepito.

-- Daniel Hernandez, in Mexico City

Photo: Siblings Isis Liliana and Darien Isai Covarrubias. Credit: ElUniversal.com

For the Record: Post updated with correct money figures.

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