A scandal involving the abduction and exploitation of young children in a colonial Mexican city popular with tourists widened Wednesday when prosecutors revealed an adult apparently used other children to help kidnap a missing 2-year-old boy, per the AP. The search for Dylan Esau Gomez Perez led prosecutors in southern Chiapas state to a house in San Cristobal de las Casas where 23 abducted children were being kept in deplorable conditions and forced to sell trinkets in the street. But Dylan, who turns 3 in November, was not among them. Reviewing surveillance cameras, state prosecutor Jorge Llaven said that a boy and a girl, both apparently around 12, were seen talking to a woman who is a suspect in the June 30 abduction. Llaven identified the woman as only as "Ofelia," and offered a $13,500 reward for information about the location of her or the missing boy.
In photos from cameras, the boy and the girl enter the public market where Dylan’s mother worked in the city. Dylan appears to follow the boy, and then the girl takes Dylan by the back of the jacket and walks out of the market with him. The girl is later seen returning alone. Llaven said Tuesday that a search carried out Monday had revealed a house where children—most between 2 and 15 years old, but three infants aged between 3 and 20 months—were forced to sell things on the street. "Moreover, they were forced to return with a certain minimum amount of money for the right to get food and a place to sleep at the house," Llaven said. Juana Pérez, 23, has traveled to Mexico City to ask President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to help find her son. (Read more child abduction stories.)