Things That Matter

‘My Parents Deserve The Truth’: Debanhi Escobar’s Taxi Driver Released Audio Recordings Tied To Her Case

In a case that has rocked the entire world, 18-year-old law student Debanhi Escobar’s tragic death in Monterrey, Mexico has led to nationwide protests, as millions call for justice. 

Escobar’s disappearance and death is part of a larger, alarming increase in femicides in Mexico, with protesters chanting and carrying banners that read, “24,000 are missing” — describing the thousands of women still not found. Now that Escobar’s body was found almost three weeks later in a subterranean water tank in the Nueva Castilla motel, more information is finally coming to light. 

For one, the attorney general’s office of Nuevo León said at a Friday press conference that the 18-year-old died due to a severe head injury, but her father Mario Escobar said she was in fact beaten and suffocated. Meanwhile, the Nuevo León Prosecutor’s Office first investigated the case as an accident, and only recently started to look into it as a femicide. 

So what happened? Escobar disappeared on April 9 after being picked up alone by taxi driver Juan David Cuellar at 4:20 a.m. from a party. The woman exited the vehicle five minutes later on a stretch of road known as “Death Highway,” which is when the driver infamously took a photo of her standing alone. Escobar asked for help at a trucking company facility next, with video footage showing her walking to Nueva Castilla Motel, marking this last time she would ever be seen again. 

Now, Cuellar has just shared audio recordings and WhatsApp conversations that are lending new light to the case, and giving investigators and the masses more information on what could have happened to Escobar.

For one, Cuellar told Info7 that he originally took Escobar and her friends to the party, a drive facilitated through a ride-sharing app. At that point, the friends asked for his personal number to contact him for the ride back, but only Escobar entered the vehicle — the rest went inside another car.

Cuellar stated, “they sent me a WhatsApp message asking me if I could pick them up… [and then] they sat Debanhi inside.” He said that Escobar told him her friends were “mean” for leaving her alone, and that she didn’t give him a specific address to go to. 

The taxi driver even shared an audio recording where Escobar reportedly says, “my parents deserve the truth,” but when Cuellar asks, “what truth?” she does not respond. Other recordings show how Cuellar told Escobar’s friend that he couldn’t force the 18-year-old to ride in his vehicle. 

The taxi driver insists that Escobar asked to get out of the vehicle minutes into the ride, with Cuellar allegedly telling police this happened after a confrontation between them. While Mario Escobar stated that videos inside the car showed how the driver tried to touch Debanhi’s breasts, making her exit the vehicle, Cuellar told Info7, “at no time did I try to touch her.”

Cuellar said, “she got out, she no longer wanted me to take her. She started hitting me… [I thought] maybe her parents will think that I got her drunk.”

Meanwhile, new video footage from the Nueva Castilla motel shows how Escobar entered the building alone, and deputy prosecutor Luis Enrique Orozco said it also shows her walking alone through the motel restaurant and pool area. Videos also allegedly show her nearing the subterranean water tank where her body was found. Some are now questioning why it took 16 days for these videos to come to light.

The Nuevo León Prosecutor’s Office seems to be leaning towards seeing the case as an accidental fall, but her father said at the wake: “we are sure it was a murder.”

While there are still several holes in this case, more information gives Escobar’s family and other people alike the hope that justice will be served.

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