Kidnapped Children of El Salvador Civil War

Searching for the Kidnapped Children of El Salvador Civil War

Cristian Orrego, forensic geneticist, leading the search for kidnapped children of El Salvador Civil War

Cristian Orrego, forensic geneticist, leading the search for kidnapped children of El Salvador Civil War

Kidnapped children of El Salvador Civil War is the subject of this La Raza Chronicles broadcast on KPFA 94.1 fm April 2, 2013.  Nina Serrano interviews forensic geneticist Cristian Orrego and social anthropologist Leila Juzan about their search for children stolen from their families during the civil war from 1979 to 1992.

Cristian Orrego Benevente is the lead forensic geneticist on this human rights project headquartered at U.C Berkeley School of Law.

From Huffington Post comes this story of one of the project’s successes:

“Lead forensic geneticist Patricia del Carmen Vásquez, from the Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos de El Salvador, was at her computer searching for El Salvador’s missing children when she ran into a “cold hit” — a moment of discovery that can make your heart skip a beat. The term is used in the United States when a DNA profile comparison links a person to a crime scene or, in this case, to a member of his biological family.

Vásquez’s discovery linked Serapio Cristian Contreras Recinos to María Maura Contreras, his biological mother, whom he hadn’t seen in 30 years. In 1982, at the age of 2, Serapio Cristian and his sisters, Gregoria Herminia and Julia Inés, were captured by military personnel and taken from Maura during a military operation in eastern El Salvador. Like hundreds of Salvadoran children, they were sent away through irregular adoptions. Twenty-four years later, Gregoria Herminia, then 28, was found living in Guatemala and reunited with her family in El Salvador.”

See the full Huff Post story.



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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.


Kidnapped Children of El Salvador Civil War — 2 Comments

  1. I heard this show and it was terrific — so amazing the detailed, compassionate work this group is doing!

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