Crime | February 5, 2020 7:00 am

Two Butterfly Advocates Found Dead in Mexico in Less Than a Week

The monarch supporters were up against illegal loggers

Funeral procession for Mexican butterfly activist Homero Gómez González
The funeral procession for Homero Gómez González, whose body was found in a well.

On January 23, Washington Post reporter Kevin Sieff raised concerns about the disappearance of Homero Gómez González, the manager of the El Rosario monarch butterfly sanctuary in Mexico. Investigators had not suggested theories or made arrests, but people in the community expected illegal loggers had kidnapped the activist. 

On January 29, Gómez González’s body was found in a well, reports the Post. Then, less than a week later, fellow monarch sanctuary worker Raúl Hernández Romero was also found dead after being “badly beaten with a sharp object.”

While investigators are still not drawing any conclusions, the apparent murder of two employees of the same sanctuary — which has been in direct conflict with the lucrative illegal logging industry which used to be the lifeblood of the Mexican community — has the public coming to its own verdict.

“For years, illegal loggers tied to Mexico’s criminal underworld have clashed with conservationists who tried and eventually succeeded to ban logging from the butterfly sanctuaries in the state of Michoacan,” writes the Post

While Hernández Romero was only a part-time tour guide in El Rosario, Gómez González was both the manager of the organization, a local politician and a vocal defender for one of the country’s largest butterfly sanctuaries. What made him so persuasive was that he was a former logger, and came to see tourism from the butterflies as a more sustainable business proposition for the community.

While Mexican authorities are currently exploring all leads, the Post reports a lack of hope from the local community: “Many here doubt the crimes will ever be solved.”

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