Human Rights and Civil Society

Heaven’s nightclub investigations continue; 22 suspects now detained

Source: Reforma.
Source: Reforma.

02/24/14 — Nine months after the high profile kidnapping and killing of 12 youth from the Mexico City (Distrito Federal, DF) nightclub Heaven, officials have arrested 22 suspects in the case. 15 suspects had been brought in by September 2013, and an additional seven more by February 2014, with the most recent arrest coming in early February when police (Policía de Investigación) detained Daniel Martín Ortiz Ruvalcaba. Ortiz, who had been arrested twice before for robbery, was allegedly the “look-out” for the Heaven’s operation, guarding the bar as the patrons inside were kidnapped. Information on Ortiz’s involvement surfaced from other suspects being held in connection.

The Federal District’s Attorney’s General Office (Procuraduría General de la Justicia del Distrito Federal, PGJDF) has been leading the case, which started May 26, 2013 when the 12 youth were kidnapped from Heaven’s nightclub in Mexico City. Their bodies were found in a mass grave with one other victim in the neighboring State of Mexico (Estado de México, Edomex) on August 26. Although authorities have identified ten of the 13 victims found in the grave, the victims’ families have only claimed four of the bodies. The remaining nine bodies continue to be held under investigation by Argentine officials, who were called upon to conduct the forensic exams at Mexico’s Institute of Forensic Science (Instituto de Ciencias Forenses, Incifo). The PGJDF recently announced it would be sending a representative from the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Público, MP) to monitor the Incifo investigations and to ensure all of the proper protocols and procedures are followed. Despite the arrests, families and friends of the victims have criticized Mexican authorities for how slowly the investigations into the case have moved, and continue to demand justice be served.

The kidnapping and killings are thought to be connected to organized crime, specifically because of an internal dispute within the La Unión drug gang. As Justice in Mexico reported in August 2013, one of the 22 suspects detained, Víctor Manuel Aguilera García, said that the kidnapping and execution of the 12 youth was in retribution for the killing of Horacio Vite Ángel, “El Chaparro,” who was shot in the head after being forcibly removed from a bar in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City. Read more about the Heaven’s nightclub case here.


“News Monitor: August 2013.” Justice in Mexico Project. August 2013.

Authorities detain 15 suspects, including one policeman, in Heaven’s nightclub killings.” Justice in Mexico. September 20, 2013.

Redacción. “Cae otro implicado en el caso Heaven; suman ya 22.” Proceso. February 5, 2014.

Ruiz-Palacios, Fanny. “Procuraduría del DF aprehende a uno más por caso de bar Heaven.” El Universal. February 6, 2014.

Nieto, Antonio. “PGJDF vigilan a peritos argentinos por caso Heaven.” Terra Noticias. February 9, 2014.

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