The former partner of a Salvadoran woman who was allegedly murdered by municipal police in Tulum, Quintana Roo, last Saturday has been arrested on charges that he sexually abused her teenage daughter.
The Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office (FGE) said that Héctor “H.” was taken into custody by investigative police at a home in an irregular settlement in Tulum.
The FGE said the man, a Mexican national, is accused of sexually assaulting the 15-year-old daughter of Victoria Salazar, who was allegedly killed by police who violently pinned her to the ground as they arrested her for disturbing the peace.
It said that it was notified of the location of the man, who lived with Salazar for two years, after the death of the Salvadoran migrant.
The DIF family services agency filed a sexual assault complaint against Héctor “H.” more than two weeks before Salazar’s death.
The newspaper El Universal reported that Héctor “H.” called police on March 11 to report that Salazar was heavily intoxicated. Tulum police went to their home and removed Salazar, who pleaded with them not to leave her daughter with her partner because he had abused her.
The police consequently removed both Salazar and her 15-year-old daughter from the home and put them before a judge who ruled that the latter must be placed in the care of DIF.
Delio Marfil, director of the family services agency in Tulum, told El Universal that DIF officials spoke with the teenager and she confirmed that she had been sexually abused by Héctor “H.”
On March 12, the 15-year-old was taken to a DIF temporary assistance residence in Playa del Carmen, located 60 kilometers north of Tulum.
Marfil said Salazar went to DIF offices in Tulum on March 16 to ask about her daughter, adding that the 36-year-old, who was living in Tulum on a humanitarian visa, was given a psychological evaluation and made a commitment to formalize her complaint against Héctor “H.”
However, she subsequently disappeared, Marfil said.
“The diagnosis was definitely that she [Salazar] was [also] a victim of family violence,” he said, adding that the DIF knew nothing more of her until seeing the news of her death last Saturday.
The FGE said it interviewed Salazar’s 15-year-old daughter on Monday last week and determined that she was a victim of abuse.
“However, we were unable to obtain sufficient information to fully establish the identity of the aggressor,” it said.
Quintana Roo Attorney General Óscar Montes de Oca explained that the teenager didn’t know the full name of her mother’s partner and was unable to provide an address to locate him.
The 15-year-old told the FGE that her 16-year-old sister was hiding out at the home of a friend, prompting the Attorney General’s Office to issue an amber alert for her while acknowledging that she had voluntarily gone into hiding.
The elder sister showed up at the FGE offices in Tulum on Wednesday afternoon and told reporters there that she was safe and well.
“I’m fine but tell [El Salvador] President [Nayib] Bukele that I don’t want to go back to El Salvador,” she said, according to El Universal.
Her immigration status and that of her 15-year-old sister in Mexico is reportedly irregular.
Bukele, who has condemned the alleged murder of Salazar and called for justice, acknowledged the arrest of Héctor “H.” in a Twitter post.
“As I told you yesterday, despite some [Mexican] authorities denying it, there were more aggressors and victims in this story [of the death of Victoria Salazar]. The Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office has just arrested the Mexican partner of Victoria, who sexually abused one of her daughters,” he wrote.
“Victoria reported him weeks ago and took her daughter to a shelter to protect her from her aggressor. Unfortunately, they [the authorities] didn’t act until now, after Victoria was murdered.”
The El Salvador president, who pledged earlier this week to provide financial assistance to Salazar’s two daughters, also said that the 16-year-old was probably abused by Héctor “H.”
Meanwhile, Tulum Mayor Víctor Mas Tah told the newspaper Milenio that municipal police received “gender perspective” and human rights training prior to the death of Salazar, who was found to have died from a fractured spine apparently caused by a female police officer who placed her knee on her back for an extended period of time.
“… In recent months, we’ve been … giving all kinds of different training,” he said.
The mayor also said that since he took office in 2018, municipal police have always followed recommendations issued by the Quintana Roo Human Rights Commission with regard to practices to prevent police abuse. The Tulum police chief was removed from his post in light of the alleged murder of Salazar.
Quintana Roo Human Rights Commission official Irma Zapata revealed that the organization had issued recommendations to Mas Tah’s government in a separate interview with Milenio.
“Recommendations about the issue of police abuse have been issued,” she said.
Zapata said it was shocking that cases of police abuse in Quintana Roo, where officers opened fire at a women’s protest in Cancún last November, are continuing to occur.