The husband, surviving children and grandchild of Marisela Escobedo, an anti-crime activist gunned down Dec. 16 in front of the Chihuahua state governor’s palace, have fled Mexico for the United States, Chihuahua officials said.
The late woman’s spouse declined Chihuahua’s offer of support and protection for 4-year-old Rubi, the granddaughter of Marisela and daughter of Rubi Marisol, whose 2008 murder spurred her mother’s crusade for justice, state government Secretary-General Graciela Ortiz told reporters.
Two days after Escobedo was slain in Chihuahua city, husband Jose Monge Amparan’s lumber yard in Ciudad Juarez was burned down. Jose’s brother, Manuel Monge, turned up dead a day after the arson attack.
Marisela Escobedo led numerous protests in Juarez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, and in the state capital, to demand justice for her murdered daughter.
The 52-year-old woman was fatally shot Dec. 16 by one of the three men who approached her and initiated an argument as she was picketing in front of the state governor’s palace in Chihuahua city.
Images captured by security cameras shows Escobedo running across the street to get away from the three assailants, one of whom chased the woman and shot her in the head at point-blank range.
The shooter then jumped into a car and the other two men fled on foot.
Rubi Marisol Freyre Escobedo, 16, was murdered in August 2008.
Her boyfriend, Sergio Barraza Bocanegra, was arrested and charged with the crime in 2009, but his trial ended April 30 in an acquittal, with judges citing a lack of evidence.
Though an appellate court subsequently overturned that decision and found him guilty, he remains at large.
Barraza’s family subsequently threatened the victim’s mother for trying to conduct her own investigation, Marisela Escobedo told El Diario de Juarez newspaper days before her death.
Escobedo said she learned Barraza moved to Zacatecas state after his acquittal in the first trial and that he had joined Los Zetas, perhaps the most ruthless of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.
After Marisela Escobedo was killed, the Chihuahua state government posted a reward of 500,000 pesos ($40,650) for information leading to the arrest of Barraza.
At least five community activists have been murdered in the past two years in Chihuahua, where they must contend with violence from drug traffickers and abuses at the hands of federal forces.
Juarez, where more than 3,100 people have been slain this year, is Mexico’s murder capital, while Chihuahua accounts for more than a third of the 30,000-plus drug-war deaths reported nationwide since December 2006.