“They’re going to kill me one day. Of that I have no doubt.”
Miriam Elizabeth Rodríguez Martínez uttered those words two weeks ago. This week, her prediction came true.
She was gunned down outside her home in San Fernando Tamaulipas on Wednesday, Mother’s Day.
The 50-year-old Tamaulipas businesswoman was an activist in the search movement for missing persons, a role she adopted after her daughter was kidnapped in 2012.
Like hundreds — possibly thousands — of parents like her, she began searching for her missing child.
Not only did she find the hidden grave in which 16-year-old Karen Alejandra had been buried but Rodríguez tracked down the kidnappers themselves. Thirteen of the 16 went to jail.
But she feared for her safety, particularly after 29 inmates escaped from a prison in Ciudad Victoria on March 23. One was among those accused in the kidnapping of Rodríguez’ daughter.
She went to the National Human Rights Commission and sought protection.
State Attorney General Irvin Barrios Mojica today confirmed that Rodríguez was under police protection at the time of her murder in the form of three patrols a day by her home.
But it wasn’t enough to prevent a gang of armed from approaching her home Wednesday night and killing her. It was Mother’s Day in Mexico, a day that has become symbolic in recent years in the call for justice by families of missing persons.
Rodríguez’ experience in the search for her daughter led her to found the Colectivo Desaparecidos de San Fernando, a group of 600 parents whose children have disappeared during the long years of the drug war.
A friend told the newspaper El Universal that Rodríguez was instrumental in locating the remains of dozens of people on behalf of their families.
“She fought only with the resources provided by her business to challenge organized crime.”
Tamaulipas has the distinction of being the state with the largest number of disappearances, 5,558 as of January 31.