UPDATE: Ceci Flores, leader of Searching Mothers of Sonora, Mexico, reported missing, found alive

By June 18, 2024

Mexico City, Mexico — Cecilia Patricia Flores Armenta, founder and leader of the Searching Mothers (Madres Buscadoras) chapter in Sonora, an organization dedicated to searching for disappeared family members in Mexico, was found alive after reported missing by her family on Monday. 

The mother and activist has helped recover the remains of over 1,500 missing people while also tirelessly searching for her own sons — often crossing dangerous criminal organizations and corrupt politicians which has made her a frequent recipient of violent threats. 

Through a message on social media, the Searching Mothers of Sonora issued an alert about the suspected disappearance of their leader by Monday afternoon. However, the 51-year-old activist was located at a private home in Querétaro with signs of dehydration and low pressure.

“Thanks to everyone who helped us, Ceci was found alive (Thank god) and is being transferred to receive medical attention. We will be reporting as she shows signs of dehydration and low blood pressure,” read the message on Facebook. 

Flores was in Mexico City to attend a forum on disappearances in Mexico on June 16. On May 21, she had reported alleged threats from organized crime figures in Mexico City during a search in the country’s capital. 

Flores’ relatives said that they have been unaware of her whereabouts since the night of Sunday, June 16, at which point she stopped answering messages and calls. 

Flores is still searching for her sons

While searching for her own sons over the past half decade, Flores has also helped reunite thousands of loved ones with the remains of their disappeared family members. 

Her work has garnered her recognition as one of Forbes’ 100 most powerful women in Mexico, and has also drawn the ire of criminal groups.

In 2015, armed men forcibly kidnapped her then 21-year-old son, Alejandro Guadalupe Islas Flores. After receiving no help in the case from police in Sonora, a border state in northwestern Mexico, in 2019 Flores decided to found the Searching Mothers chapter in her home state.

Soon after the chapter’s founding, Flores’ two other sons, Marco Antonio and Jesus Adrian, were also violently kidnapped. In a cruel irony, on Mother’s Day, 2019 the captors returned Jesús Adrian, 15, however, Marco Antonio, 35, and Alejandro Guadalupe remain missing. 

In Mexico, 113,000 people have disappeared since 1964