A CLOSER LOOK: ‘the highway of death’ may be where a missing Bentonville man was last seen

A Closer Look

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s been more than three months since Luis Davila went missing while driving back from Mexico to the United States.

The 31-year-old Bentonville man, visiting his girlfriend near Monterrey, in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico, may have been kidnapped on his drive back to the U.S. in late March.

According to the FBI, Davila was last seen on March 29, 2021, wearing a white shirt and jeans. He was driving a silver 2016 Nissan Maxima with Arkansas license plate 936 VET.

The drive from Monterrey to the U.S. border is about 125 miles (200 kilometers). The border crossings most commonly used are Laredo/Nuevo Laredo and McAllen-Hidalgo/Reynosa in South Texas. Once across the border, the drive to Bentonville, Arkansas, (from Nuevo Laredo) is 790 miles (1,273 kilometers) using Interstate 35 north and then Interstate 49 north to Bentonville — about 13 hours.

If March 29 is the date Davila left Mexico, and he drove straight from there and headed home, his total drive time would have been about 15 hours without any stops.

Google Maps.
The U.S. State Department has this warning posted on its website.
The U.S. State Department has the state of Tamaulipas listed as “do not travel” for several reasons. The FBI’s Kidnapping poster has Davila possibly being in Tamaulipas.

“There are no updates at this time and the FBI in Little Rock is still in coordination with our legal attaché in Mexico City,” said FBI Spokesperson Connor Hagen. “We are pursuing all leads and anyone with any information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
Some 36 people vanished between February and May 2018 in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Witness reports collected by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights indicated that federal security forces detained many of those individuals, including at least five youth under the age of 18.

Despite evidence that implicated the Mexican navy, prosecutors delayed and hindered investigations of the cases. Witnesses reported threats and harassment after reporting the disappearances to authorities. In July 2020, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission released a report that attributed 27 of the disappearances to the navy. The report also recommended that criminal investigations be opened against those responsible.

Amnesty International

THE MEDIA DUBS THE DRIVE FROM NUEVO LEÓN TO THE SOUTHERN TEXAS BORDER AS THE “HIGHWAY OF DEATH.”

Family of Ricardo Valdes, who disappeared on the road on May 25, put up posters with their photography during a protest in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, Mexico, Thursday, June 24, 2021. As many as 50 people in Mexico are missing after they set off on simple highway trips between the industrial hub of Monterrey and the border city of Nuevo Laredo; relatives say they simply disappeared on the heavily traveled road, which has been dubbed ‘the highway of death,’ never to be seen again. (AP Photo/Roberto Martinez)

In 2017, human rights concerns were the impetus for the Mexican government to create a law to address the issue of disappearances. The law was created but did not ensure implementation, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

Since 2006, Mexico’s government estimates 275,000 people have been killed and 71,678 have disappeared. The more than 71,000 missing people are a result of an escalation of drug trafficking that began in 2006, according to government officials.

The law to address disappearances created a National Search Commission (CNB, Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda) to find and identify missing persons. It got a financial boost in 2020 and 2021 and has “registered more than 1,143 clandestine graves and identified 712 of the 1,682 bodies exhumed from those graves.” One criticism families have about CNB is that they said there needs to be a more efficient way to search for missing persons — who may still be alive, according to the CRS report.

Editors note: KNWA/FOX24 reached out to Luis Davila’s family but did not hear back as of the publication of this story.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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