Brutal theft of gold teeth from mass grave near Granada

by Lorraine Williamson
grave robberies

Grave 17 in Barranco de Víznar, in Granada, was the target of a brazen robbery over the weekend, most likely on Sunday. In the tomb, which was recently opened, the bodies of 10 people who were shot in the head in 1936 with their hands tied behind their backs.

At least a few people, according to Francisco de Asís Carrión Jiménez, a sociologist in charge of the study, have entered the tent that protects the tomb. They took the upper and lower jaws of one of the corpses. Carrión explained that these jaws had 11 gold teeth that were supposedly the main purpose of the theft and the desecration of the grave. Fortunately, there was no further damage to the skeletons.

Recent find in tomb 17 in Víznar

Grave 17 was opened a few weeks ago, and in April the 10 corpses were discovered with their hands tied behind their backs. And that is something unusual in the Barranco de Víznar, where in the 17 tombs opened so far, no groups of people had been found in such conditions. Investigators have now found 124 people killed by Franco’s forces during the Civil War.


Carrión says work on the tomb ended around noon on Friday. The team didn’t realise what had happened until 8.00 am on Monday morning. The scientists believe that the robbery took place on Sunday because it rained on Saturday and the traces in the tent indicate that the theft took place after the rain. The expert filed a complaint with the Guardia Civil, which visited the scene of the crime and immediately started the investigation.

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Safety measures needed

The team points out that the theft of the gold teeth is already the third within a few months. Materials have already been stolen. And a few months ago, a relative who visited the graves was attacked. For this reason, experts call on the competent institutions to take the necessary security measures to prevent these kinds of events. The researcher in charge points out that “the area is protected with closed tents and barrier tapes. Still, it is possible to get in.”

Sadness, indignation and vulnerability

Both the relatives of the victims and the experts working in the graves of the Víznar ravine condemn this “lack of protection” in an enclave where the Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the shooting of 49 people. Their remains were exhumed in 2021 and 2022. First of all, this despicable robbery has caused “sadness, indignation and a sense of vulnerability” among the families of the victims. But in addition, the theft has also greatly damaged the identification work.

“We are fulfilling our duty of investigation and disclosure. But the institutions and the state security forces must take on this protection,” says the expert. He points out that the tombs in the gorge of Víznar are in the open air at this place. This is in contrast to other mass graves found in cemeteries or in enclosed spaces.

Also read: Cemetery robbers arrested in Murcia

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