Erika Gándara, 28, lone law enforcement officer of Guadelupe in the Juarez Valley, has been kidnapped. [El Paso Times photo.]
By: Border Explorer
The last and only police officer remaining in a stretch of rural towns in the Juárez Valley outside Juárez, Mexico has been kidnapped, state police officials reported today.
Erika Gándara, 28, had assumed leadership of law enforcement in Guadelupe, replacing eight men, one of whom was killed and seven of whom resigned out of fear for their lives.
Armed men stormed into her Guadalupe home about 6 a.m. Thursday and kidnapped her, according to Carlos González, a spokesman for the Chihuahua attorney general, reports the El Paso Times.
Initial Mexican media reports claimed Gándara's body was found; however, González said police were still searching for her.
Gándara had told the Times in November: "I am here out of necessity."
She joined the department as a dispatcher in June. One member of the force was killed the week she joined. When the other members resiqned, she subsequently became the only member of the local law enforcement in an area torn by violence.
Women are increasingly representing the face of law enforcement in Mexico.In the nearby Mexican town of Praxedis Guerrero, which is also in the Juárez Valley, the police chief is a 20-year-old college student with a department staffed by 12 women and two men. Her appointment created an international media frenzy.
In contrast, Gándara received little notice, even though her town of 9,000 is larger than Praxedis.