Chihuahua Mother Killed While Demanding Justice for her Murdered Daughter

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The LAWGEF joins with groups across Mexico and around the world in expressing our deep sadness and denouncing the violence that led to the murder of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, a woman who fought tirelessly to bring justice for the murder of her daughter, Rubi Frayre, as well as press authorities to end the impunity for the hundreds of feminicides that have occurred in the state of Chihuahua. On December 16th, Marisela Escobedo was gunned down at close-range in front of the governor’s palace in Chihuahua City while holding a peaceful vigil demanding justice in her daughter’s murder case. 

We urge state and federal authorities in Mexico to conduct a prompt, thorough and unbiased investigation to ensure that those responsible for the murder of Marisela Escobedo are held accountable – and call for 2011 to be the year that authorities take meaningful action to bring an end to the rampant impunity for feminicides in the state of Chihuahua and throughout Mexico.

See a May 2010 interview with Marisela Escobedo and other human rights defenders fighting to end the impunity for feminicides in the state of Chihuahua here.

Please find below a statement from organizations that worked closely with Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, Justicia para Nuestras Hijas and Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres.  Thanks to Amigos de las Mujeres de Juarez for sharing this message.

Organizations denounce the feminicide of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz

Due to the incapability and disregard of the state and federal governments, Marisela was murdered for demanding justice for her daughter Rubi.

“I am not going to move from here until they detain the killer of my daughter” Marisela declared before setting up her small campsite in front of the Cross of Nails NOT ONE MORE in Chihuahua City. She was prepared to spend Christmas and New Years in this emblematic place, where, the past November 25th, she participated in a demonstration with the mothers of Justice for our Daughters to hang on the cross, the names of the more than 300 women who have been killed in the state of Chihuahua in 2010 alone.

Rubi was 16 year old when she was killed by Sergio Rafael in August, 2008. Since she disappeared and her small corpse was found in a lot together with the bones of pigs, the mother of Rubi, Marisela, a retired nurse, dedicated her life to seeking justice for her daughter, becoming a human rights defender.

The same day that the Secretary of Government, Francisco Blake, asked citizens to “reject fear to fight the criminals”, Marisela was killed in front of the doors of the Palace of Government in Chihuahua City, while she was engaged in her peaceful and indefinite protest to demand that the authorities detain the killer of her daughter Rubi.

Marisela not only rejected fear, she walked for days from the office of the prosecutor to the judicial center in Juarez to demand punishment for the killer of her daughter. She always walked with her two-year-old granddaughter in a carriage and a placard with the picture of her daughter Rubi. An oral trial freed the killer, shaming the system of justice.

Marisela, untiring fighter, achieved, together with the lawyers of the Center for Human Rights of Women  in obtaining an appeal tribunal (made up of 3 magistrates) who would rectify the decision of the judges and she succeeded in obtaining a sentence against Sergio Rafael,  confessed murderer, condemning him finally to 50 years in prison.  

“I am tired of doing their work, now let them do theirs” said Marisela. Effectively, while the authorities did not manage to find Sergio Rafael, Marisela, with her own resources, found him in Zacatecas and advised the Attorney General of Chihuahua, who alleged, that because of bureaucratic procedures, they could not detain him.

The Attorney General of the state of Chihuahua informed the mother that, together with the Attorney General of Mexico, “they would keep seeking the killer of her daughter over the whole country.” They never found him.

For two years she traveled the country. She returned to Zacatecas, she went to Mexico City where she asked for an audience with President Calderon and with Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez. Both refused to see her. She spoke with authorities in the federal prosecutor’s office who promised to search for the killer of her daughter. They never found him.

Days before being murdered, she turned up at an event where she met the Governor of Chihuahua, Cesar Duarte and she took out a placard that said “justice, privilege of governments”. The request angered the governor, as was noted by various local journalists. The governor scolded here and treated her with contempt. Later, she succeeded in getting an interview with the state attorney of Chihuahua who promised her that he would review her case.

Lucha Castro, coordinator of the Center for the Human Rights of Women declared, at this time, we cannot ignore any line of investigation including a crime by the state because Marisela was not going to stop until they detained the killer of her daughter.

Marisela died at the doors of the Palace of Government and in front of the cross of nails that was placed by the group Women in Black and the mothers of the young women killed in the state of Chihuahua. Marisela was killed for asking for justice.

President Calderon and Governor Duarte, where is the responsibility of the citizens to make justice and where does the work of the authorities begin?

In front of such inability, number of omissions, scorn and negligence, the Mexican state is responsible and must respond immediately for the murders of Rubi.

Enough. NOT ONE MORE. 

Justicia Para Nuestras Hijas / Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres