A municipal police chief, two officers and a judge have been arrested in connection with the death of a 30-year-old woman who died in police cells in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, last Friday.
Oaxaca Attorney General Arturo Peimbert Calvo told the newspaper Reforma that the officials were arrested in Salina Cruz after a judge issued arrest warrants for the murder of Flor Abigail Hay Urrutia.
Hay, a mother of two, was detained by municipal police last Friday after allegedly attacking her partner in a vehicle in which they were traveling. The newspaper El Financiero reported that it appeared that she was arrested at the request of her partner.
Municipal police told Hay’s family that she used her underwear to hang herself in a cell at a police station in Salina Cruz. Her family was given a suicide note she allegedly wrote, but they said the handwriting wasn’t hers.
The family also said that the name Hay used on social media, rather than the name she used with them, appeared on the note.
Federal Deputy Security Minister Ricardo Mejía said Thursday that a third autopsy made the same conclusion as the first two — that Hay died from asphyxiation as a result of hanging. He said her death was being investigated as a femicide.
Margarita Hay Urrutia, Flor Abigail’s sister, said that the three municipal police and the judge – all of whom were dismissed before their arrest – were detained as a result of the pressure exerted on authorities by her family. José Luis Hay has openly accused the police of murdering his daughter.
“I just want justice because the Salina Cruz police beat my daughter to death and then hung her, but she was already dead,” he wrote on social media. “They wanted to make me believe that she hung herself with her panties, but I didn’t believe it,” he said.
“… My daughter’s body had a deep wound on the neck, … we assume that the wound wasn’t made by her underwear. …. The police murdered her.”
José Hay also said it was unclear why his daughter was arrested, asking “Why did they take her? and “What were the charges?”
In video footage showing the woman’s arrest, she can be heard repeatedly saying, “I’m the mother of your child” to her partner, the father of her youngest.
José Hay said that his daughter’s partner accompanied her to the police station but left to buy her a torta, or sandwich. He returned to the police station but didn’t see Flor Abigail again, the woman’s father said.
Hay was buried in the Salina Cruz municipal cemetery on Wednesday after the third autopsy was completed. During the funeral procession, family and friends called for justice for Abigail, according to an Aristegui Noticias report.
“I’m very sad, it’s the only thing I can say,” José Hay said as his daughter was laid to rest.