Silvia Cherem for La Reforma
Mexico City (04 October 2007) . Dror and Dania Rishpy arrived in Mexico in late May. Time was passing and they were tired of mourning long distance. Since there was very little they could do in Israel,they preferred to be at the scene. There, they could put pressure on, and shout to the four winds that their daughter had to appear. They were appalled by the lack of effort in the investigation, and the bureaucratization of the judicial system. The police in Quintana Roo never questioned key witnesses in depth, neither requested the American authorities to have Matthew Ryan Walshin make a statement about the disappearance of their daughter.
Dan, Dana's brother, and her uncle Rafael, who also traveled from Israel, had been in Mexico three weeks between Cancun and Tulum. They too were frustrated with the paralysis of the authorities. With the passage of days, already two long months after her disappearance, clues seemed exhausted.
The Clumsiness of an Investigation
Dana's family was concerned, above all, that questions to witnesses were not incisive. Flor Pastrana, for example,indigenous advocate aged 34, was a friend of Matthew's since 1996. It was she who rented him an apartment for a nominal amount. Apartment number 2 Chemuyil 13, where he took refuge after the disappearance of Dana. She was barely questioned . This woman, who in 2001 stayed at the home of Matthew on Maui, became embroiled in a thicket of contradictions to justify (pages 51 and 52 of the preliminary investigation T-386/2007).
Pastrana declared that on March 31st in the afternoon, the day that Matthew said that Dana "had not returned from the ruins," she met him. He told her that he wanted to move because Vincent, a craftsman, had threatened him.
Mixing interchangeably the names Mirador (Viewpoint) and Caribbean Sea, Flor said that Matthew did not change hotels then, but much later, because "he couldn't deal with everything, his stuff and the girl's (...) and he was wary of leaving the girl's backpack with someone else."
She stated that she read a note from Dana in English which said: "Wait for me, I will return", a note that investigators knew never existed. And if someone claimed that Matthew did not wait long enough, Flor added, "Mati had wanted to wait for the girl longer, but could not deal with the threats of the artisans."
She adds more information. In April, ie, after Dana's disappearance, Matthew bought a truck that was still parked in the front of the apartment that he rented. The public prosecutor never asked her why did she believe that Matthew abandoned his car. Why did he buy a car if he was only using his bike. Also, if she maintained communication with him , and where was the note that she assured that she had read.
"The court acknowledges that Flor lied in her statements, as a blog on the Internet reveals regarding the case (http://yourfreepress.blogspot.com/2007/05/new-evidence-in-rishpy-case.html ); she defends Matthew, almost always anonymously, "says Dror.
The family also was concerned that the police had taken more than a month until May 25 to question Zsolt Fejer, a Hungarian citizen aged 34, a friend of Matthew, tattooed on every inch of his body, who, as already stated and contained in the dossier, sold drugs in Tulum and Playa del Carmen. A group of private investigators who recently took the case said that the "Hungarian", as he is nicknamed, told them that he sold Matthew tablets of ecstasy and LSD.
The investigation that led to "The Hungarian" as a witness was valuable. He appears in the pictures of the party near Dana and the people, where he is well identified. Everyone recognized him as a "friend of Matthew." "When we arrived in Tulum, we questioned why he had not been called yet to testify. The policemen responded that they had failed to identify him. The surprise came when we were leaving the offices of the police. My brother turned around and there, he saw "The Hungarian" himself.
"Surely he is protected. Most likely, he distributes money to the police in order to sell drugs in the area, "says Dania.
The findings of the police were spurious. The first week of May, for example, Dan and Raphael found the car that apparently belonged to Matthew. It was a gray Toyota pickup truck with plate number XPV 605 from Oregon. Police broke the glass and said they had found traces of blood, which would qualify the crime as murder.
The police of Quintana Roo, after securing and guarding the car, ordered on May 10th that the Department of Expert Services conduct a blood test with luminol to certify the findings. In the Mexican and Israeli media, information was widely circulated. There was talk of a clue"conclusive". The family, through Interpol in Jerusalem, sent Dana's hair sample. Her DNA would be compared with the blood that was in the vehicle.
However, the chemist, Arnulfo Mendez, of the Expert Services Branch, conducted three expert opinions that were contradictory. First, on May 10th, he confirmed that on the floor of the rear of the car and at the top of the trunk, there was a presence of blood. Then, that the chemo luminescence reagent was positive in the middle of the door. And finally, three days later, when applying benzidine, noted that there were no traces of human blood.
For Dror, this was either a means of entertaining the press, or a way of "masking the murder. " Dania has an uncle in Germany who is a specialist in DNA. He is internationally famous. He said that it was absolutely absurd that an expert could doubt whether it was human or animal blood, because even with a microscopic sample, it can be determined. Worse still to doubt whether it was blood or not .
The researchers who took the case recently cast doubt on any finding in his car. The only indication that points to Matthew are the dubious statements of Flor, and also in back of the apartment where he was living. There is an area where pigs and poultry are slaughtered for consumption at local restaurants. It is possible that waste products of meat, fat and animal blood had been tracked into the car and that the experts confused it with human blood.
The agony of uncertainty
From Israel, the Rishpys had acted in concert with the Mexican investigators, mobilizing resources and efforts. Their house in Haifa was a cauldron of activity during the entire month of May. The friends of the family and friends of the children ,Dalit (40), Dafna (37) and Dan (35) offered any kind of help.
"There were so many calls and suggestions, we were overwhelmed. We never knew we had so many acquaintances. " A friend of Dania living in Belgium, traveled to Haifa to handle the torrents of information.
With support from investigators, they knew Matthew's whereabouts. He continually moved within the USA. Maui, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Nevada ... Cities where his wealthy mother now remarried , owns property and pays mortgages on behalf of her son. A confidante of Dana's parents contacted Matthew's mother at her home in Las Vegas, and let her know that he was suspected of murder. She listened and said that she would offer no help..
Matthew, for his part, opted for silence. He acted on the advice of his father, Perry Walshin, a lawyer who in his youth defended an accomplice of Charles Manson, murderer of Sharon Tate. Matthew stopped answering e-mails, paying his expenses with credit cards or answering his cell. With a new image as a hippy, his full grown beard seemed outdated. Mati, as he liked to call himself, began to jump from city to city, avoiding any traces.
Faced with the impossibility of finding strong clues , acquaintances of the family began to contact witches, shamans and scholars. One said that Dana was abducted in one of the boats moored in Tulum. "We had to come to the area to see that there were no boats." Another imagined that Dana was traveling on a ship bound for Saudi Arabia to join the harem of a sheik, an explanation more in tune with the culture of the Middle East than with the Mexican reality. One further stated that Dana had fallen from a cliff, and that she was lost in the ocean. " "The Israeli experts who were in Mexico told us that if she had drowned, hundreds of carrion birds would have found her body. In addition, the current would wash ashore bones or pieces of clothing. But, there was nothing. One impossible hypothesis. "
Each proposal opened a sea of possibilities. Possibly in a boat with round windows, held hostage by a woman. Trapped in a forest in Venezuela, drugged against her will. Hidden in a jungle, and like the tale of witches, her mother had to go decoding locks on her way to release her. Trapped in a cave in Chihuahua. In a weakened state in a car in the jungle. A psychic lit hundreds of candles imbued with sugar and cinnamon with Dana's name. Another meditated with objects and photographs.
Almost all insisted that she was alive, but not how to get to her. " "We were very confused.There were no clear clues from the psychics, nor the police. Our family was consumed with despair. Our children were awoken by Dana's cries for help, without being able to help her. "
Before traveling to Mexico, Dror visited Uri Geller at his home in London. Geller is world renowned for his psychic powers and, and has been a friend of his for decades. Without promising results, he requested a photo of Dana. He did not give them false hopes, but contacted a multimillionaire who has investigative offices worldwide, assuring them that he might help. "Tell nothing to no one and never give his name," said Dror.
This tycoon was the first person they visited when, in late May, the Rishpys arrived in Mexico. He had already sent a specialist to Cancun. They were confident that that day would have bundles of information that would clarify the record. They hoped Dana would be found alive. The investigator, a bald man, said that he took Dana's photo to all the brothels in the Riviera Maya, and that nobody knew her. He went to groups in the underworld, without obtaining results. Rather than giving him information,they made him wary.
He said that since the first day he arrived in Quintana Roo, he realized that they followed him and took photos. "We urge you to beware. The mafia in Cancun is boiling. Do not say that you are helping Dana's parents. They can kill them. " They will cut their wings.
With more information than the police, he began his slow journey in Mexico. His hands were tied also.