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Mexican Mother who Sought Justice for Murdered Daughter is Herself Assassinated

December 21st 2010

Mexican Topics - Marisela Escobedo Ortiz
Marisela Ortiz protests her daughter's murder

A chilling video, taken by CCTV camera, captured the assassination of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, a Mexican human rights activist who - for more than two years - has demanded justice for her murdered 16-year-old daughter, Rubí Marisol Frayre. Rubi was shot to death, allegedly by a lover, and her body later burned and left at a garbage dump.

Marisela was arranging on the evening of December 16 her protest signs in front of the government house in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, preparing for yet another demonstration, when a man emerged from a car and shot her in the head. Falling to the ground, she was soon taken by local police to hospital while she still showed signs of life. However, she was finally pronounced dead despite medical attention.

It was 8 PM when a man approached Marisela and spoke to her. The widely distributed closed-circuit video shows that the gunman shot her once and when Marisela managed to run across the street to escape, the assailant chased her and shot her again. Once she slumped to the ground, the video shows that her assailant fled on foot among the Christmas shoppers in downtown Chihuahua City. It was earlier that day that Marisela had met with officials of Chihuahua's state government, once again demanding results in their investigation of  the murder of her daughter. Human rights campaigners and television talking heads expressed outrage throughout Mexico over the injustice.

Some have linked Marisela's death to the man already accused of her daughter's murder. In the days before her execution-style killing, Marisela reported that she had received death threats from the family of Sergio Rafael Barraza Bocanegra - her daughter's alleged killer. Barraza Bocanegra was at first absolved of the crime in an oral hearing. But after finally being found guilty, he became a fugitive.

Earlier in 2010, Marisela revealed a letter addressed to her daughter Rubí Marisol, that came presumably from her killers. The ungrammatical letter read, in translation, "Wherever you are, my love, I want you to know that I love you and I ask for your forgiveness; forgive me for taking your life, my love."

Following the release of Barraza Bocanegra, Marisela sought him out and found him in the state of Zacatecas. A bounty of 100,00 pesos was offered for his capture. In April 2010, the ruling by two judges against him was over-ruled and he was released. Following this third finding by a court, Marisela stepped up her demands for justice. Mexico is experiencing not only open warfare between the various criminal organizations such as Los Zetas and Cartel del Golfo, but also a series of unsolved murders of women. These murders of women have gained international attention as feminicide, since many of the victims were also raped and sodomized, tortured and beheaded.

Ciudad Juarez is the largest city in Chihuahua and lies across the international border from El Paso, Texas. Juarez has numerous maquiladora factories and has earned a reputation for violence, especially against women. While local police and authorities appear to either impotent to stop violent crime, or complicit, local civic groups have called upon the United Nations to send peacekeepers to instill order there.

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