The British-Mexican activist who disappeared in Oaxaca on March 26 was murdered, state officials said.
Claudia Uruchurtu, 48, went missing after a protest outside government headquarters in the Mixteca municipality of Asunción Nochixtlán, where people had gathered after a local resident was beaten. According to Uruchurtu’s relatives, witnesses saw her being grabbed and pushed into a car.
State Attorney General Arturo Peimbert Calvo confirmed that the woman would not be found alive. “She was killed. The victim of an extrajudicial execution, after being a victim of forced disappearance … we are only looking for the body,” he said.
The Attorney General’s Office has formally connected the former mayor of Asunción Nochixtlán, Lizbeth Victoria Huerta, to the crime along with three other members of her administration. Another six arrest warrants have been issued.
Oaxaca police detained Huerta and two other government officials on May 7 for their alleged connection to the kidnapping.
Much of Uruchurtu’s activism centered on denouncing acts of corruption and political repression of the Huerta administration, relating to nepotism and lavish personal spending. “She became a very inconvenient person for the mayor,” Uruchurtu’s family said.
The Attorney General added that officials were confident justice would be done. “A lot of progress has been made. We have practically identified all the intellectual and material participants in the crime, and we have detained those who are likely responsible, but it will be up to the judges to adjudicate responsibly on this issue that has hurt the community so badly,” he said.
Uruchurtu’s family had pressured authorities to investigate her disappearance, lobbying the British foreign ministry, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for justice. The family said Uruchurtu had denounced Huerta before state authorities for embezzlement of public resources before her disappearance.
The protest on March 26 from which Uruchurtu disappeared started after a businessman went to the mayor’s office to demand a bill owed to him by the local government, when he was beaten and suffered a skull fracture.