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3 detained in Mexico disappearances

By Mariano Castillo and Arturo Ascensión, CNN
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Wed June 5, 2013
What happened to 12 young people who were forced at gunpoint into a van in Mexico City's popular Zona Rosa entertainment district on May 26? <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/04/world/americas/mexico-missing-mystery/index.html?iref=allsearch'>The mystery has gripped nation</a>. Penelope Ramirez is a cousin of Jerzy Ortiz Ponce, who is one of the 12 missing people. She holds a sign with his picture during a gathering of family members in the Tepito area of Mexico City on May 31. What happened to 12 young people who were forced at gunpoint into a van in Mexico City's popular Zona Rosa entertainment district on May 26? The mystery has gripped nation. Penelope Ramirez is a cousin of Jerzy Ortiz Ponce, who is one of the 12 missing people. She holds a sign with his picture during a gathering of family members in the Tepito area of Mexico City on May 31.
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Families of missing haunted by mystery
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Families of missing haunted by mystery
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Families of missing haunted by mystery
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Three people have been detained in connection with the disappearance of 12 people
  • Police have not said why these three were detained
  • The 12 young people were allegedly kidnapped from a bar in Mexico City

Read the latest on this case -- in Spanish -- at CNNMexico.com.

(CNN) -- Police in Mexico City have detained three people in the mysterious disappearance of 12 people from a nightclub, the city's attorney general said.

And for the first time since the disappearance, Attorney General Rodolfo Rios confirmed there is evidence showing that the people who are missing had indeed been at the club.

The names of the detainees -- one woman and two waiters from the Heavens After bar -- were not released. Officials said they are looking at the link between the woman and the waiters, but did not say what charges, if any, they might face.

Before Tuesday's announcement, the relatives of the missing people -- one of them only 16 years old -- insisted that they had been kidnapped from the after-hours bar in Mexico City's Zona Rosa entertainment district. But police had said there was no proof that that the 12 had even been there.

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"There is evidence that the majority of the youths arrived at Heaven in two vehicles, one private and a taxi, but it is unknown how they left," Rios said.

Still, he said, there is no evidence that an armed convoy snatched the group, as the families say.

The attorney general also upped the number of missing to 12 from 11, saying that another family had come forward.

The top prosecutor met with the families of the missing to give them an update.

"We are not interested in who took them, we are not interested in any of that, whether they will be punished, or not punished doesn't interest us," said Carlos Ruiz, the father of one of the missing. "Our interest is that they all return alive."

Not all of the 12 people said to be involved knew each other, but most of them hail from the Tepito neighborhood, a place known for its rough character. That alone has added spice to an already sensational story, leading to speculation that gangs could be involved.

The young people were taken from the Heavens After nightclub on Sunday, May 26, between 10 a.m. and noon, family members say. They were forced into a van and kidnapped, they claim.

A center for missing persons in Mexico will distribute photos and information about the missing young people across the country.

A mass kidnapping would be a significant development because even through the years of drug cartel violence, the capital was a relatively safe place. Recently, however, there is evidence that infighting between local criminal groups is on the rise.

More than 26,000 people have gone missing in Mexico over the past six years as violence surged and the country's government cracked down on drug cartels, according to Mexico's Interior Ministry. Authorities don't have data on how many of the disappearances were connected with organized crime.

READ: Mystery deepens around missing Mexican youths

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