Mexico City prosecutors will seek the maximum penalty for a man who murdered his girlfriend, skinned her body and removed her organs, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Tuesday.
“Femicide is an absolutely reprehensible crime. When hate reaches the limits like [it did in the case] of Ingrid Escamilla, it’s infuriating,” Sheinbaum wrote on Twitter.
Mexico City police detained the suspect, and the Attorney General’s Office (FGJ) has said that it will demand the maximum sentence, the mayor said.
Erick Francisco Robledo, 46, confessed to killing Escamilla, 25, on Saturday night at their apartment in the northern Mexico City borough of Gustavo A. Madero.
He told police that he got into an argument with Escamilla over his drinking before he stabbed her to death. In an attempt to dispose of the evidence, Robledo skinned and mutilated part of the woman’s body and removed her organs.
After being informed of the murder by Robledo’s ex-wife, to whom he reportedly confessed his crime, police arrested him in the apartment on Sunday morning. They found him next to Escamilla’s mutilated body with a knife in his hand and his own body splattered with blood.
A video posted online by media outlets shows Robledo being questioned by police in a patrol car. He tells them that he stabbed his partner to death and disposed of part of her body in a drain near their apartment.
A judge on Tuesday ordered Robledo to stand trial for Escamilla’s murder and remanded him in custody at a psycho-social rehabilitation center rather than a regular jail. His defense team had argued that he has a mental illness and there is a risk that he will take his own life.
The newspaper Milenio reported that the ex-wife of Robledo had filed two complaints against him over the past eight years, including one for domestic violence. Milenio Television reported that Escamilla also filed a complaint against Robledo several months ago but later withdrew it.
News of her violent death triggered outrage in Mexico, where an average 10 women per day were killed last year – many by their partners – and protests against gender-based violence have intensified in recent months.
The anger was further inflamed by the publication of a photo of the victim’s body on the front page of Pásala, a newspaper notorious for salacious headlines, gory stories and graphic images. The photo was accompanied by a headline that read: “It was Cupid’s fault.”
The National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women (Conavim) and the National Institute for Women (Inmujeres) both condemned the publication of the images, which also circulated on social media.
Media that published photos of the victim’s body “re-victimized” Escamilla, they said. Conavim urged authorities to sanction media outlets that publish images of violence against women for commercial purposes.
Inmujeres said in a statement that “Mexico is facing a tremendous challenge with respect to violence against women – we urge the media to work with rigor and professionalism.”
Deputy prosecutor Nelly Monte said Tuesday that the FGJ is investigating six police and public officials to determine who leaked the images of the victim. She also said that the Attorney General’s Office has all the evidence it needs to prove that Robledo acted with the intent of killing his partner.
For her part, Mayor Sheinbaum reasserted her commitment to work tirelessly to eradicate violence against women, while lawmakers observed a minute of silence in the Mexico City Congress to show their respect for the victim.
After her burial Tuesday in her hometown of Nuevo Necaxa, Puebla, a school friend of Escamilla told Milenio that she was shocked by the death because she never had any problems with anyone.
“She was a lover of life, a protector of animals; I can’t say anything bad about her. [She was] a very calm person, always smiling, very kind … When you needed her, she was there [for you],” Vale Jarillo said.
“I’ve got a lot of things in my head, a lot of questions about why he did it. … It’s news that really hits you. … No one has the right to take someone’s life.”