Shock over the disappearance in Berlin of the 24-year-old Mexican student María Fernanda Sánchez Castañeda

On July 25, the Berlin Police gave the first notice on Twitter: “María Fernanda SC, 24 years old, left her apartment in #Treptow-#Köpenick on 07/22/23 and has been missing ever since. Who can provide information on his whereabouts?

The message was accompanied by a link to the file of María Fernanda Sánchez Castañeda, where there was a picture and more information: “She left her apartment on Büchnerweg and never returned. There are indications that the 24-year-old is in a situation exceptional psychological”.

Since then, the photo of the young Mexican has multiplied on the social networks of the Latino and Spanish-speaking community in Berlin. The Government of Mexico, through its embassy, launched a search and Interpol issued a yellow note which, as they explained, is a global police alert to help locate missing persons. This Saturday, starting at 12 p.m. local time, a rally is expected as a show of solidarity in front of the Mexican Embassy in Berlin.

María Fernanda Sánchez Castañeda moved to the city of Berlin five months ago. There she had begun a master’s degree in New Media Design at the European University of Applied Sciences (UE), an institution that on July 28 joined her search.

“We have been deeply shocked since last Monday we learned that one of our students had disappeared. Since then we have been in constant contact and exchange of information and support with the family of María Fernanda as well as with the Mexican Embassy and the Police to help as much as possible. In addition to publicizing the case on all our channels and looking for her with the help of distributing flyers in the area, we naturally offer psychological support to her friends and fellow students,” Professor Sascha said in a statement. Bosetzky, academic vice president of that university.

According to information published by the Government of Mexico, Francisco Javier Sánchez Terminel, the father of María Fernanda, requested help to locate his daughter through the Information and Assistance Center for Mexican People (CIAM) on July 24. His last communication with his daughter, according to the same source, had been on the night of Saturday, July 22.

Maria Fernanda Sanchez Castaneda.
One of the flyers distributed in the search for María Fernanda Sánchez Castañeda.

“Since that date, continuous communication has been maintained with the young woman’s family and friends and support has been given with the printing of flyers and other actions to ensure the visibility of the case in German society. Various groups of Mexican people in Germany and in Europe have joined the dissemination efforts”, explains the Government of Mexico about its efforts in the search for María Fernanda.

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, referred to the case this Thursday during his morning conference from the National Palace: “We already have a report on what happened before the young woman disappeared, we already have information on what is being done, that I cannot make known now”.

After moving to Berlin to participate in the search, the family issued a statement through the Mexican embassy in which they thanked “the support provided, both nationally and internationally, as well as by the community in Berlin.”

The community in Berlin has organized itself through initiatives on social networks under the name “find Maffy Berlin” or simply “Maffy Berlin”, in relation to the nickname with which María Fernanda was known by those close to her. There, initiatives and meeting points are shared so that volunteers can meet in search brigades in different parks in the city, and calls for solidarity actions are disseminated.

“We do not ask for donations. Volunteers for the search. Be punctual with your shifts! It is not allowed to join late,” says one of the brigade organization messages.

The last of these initiatives was launched by the family of María Fernánda for this Saturday, August 5: “(…) we want to make a call and invite the community in Berlin to accompany us in a show of solidarity in front of the facilities of the Embassy of Mexico in Berlin (Klingelhöferstraße 3, 10785) on Saturday, August 5 at 12:00 p.m.”. In the same statement they ask “to wear white and carry candles as a symbol of the hope we have to find our daughter safe and sound.”


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