Friday, February 25, 2011

Marisela Escobedo

Thursday December 16, 2010: Human rights defender, Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, was shot to death in full view of the Palace of the Governor in Chihuahua City. For two days she had maintained a vigil in front of the offices of Governor Cesar Duarte vowing not to move until investigators showed progress the case of her daughter, Rubí Marisol Frayre, who was murdered in September 2008.

A security video recording shows masked men pulling up in a white car in front of the governor's office. A man appears on the footpath and confronts Marisela, who tries to flee across the street. The man chases her down and shoots her in the head. Ms Escobedo was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she died within minutes.

Marisela's daughter, Rubí Marisol Frayre, disappeared in Ciudad Juarez in 2008. Prosecutors alleged Frayre's live-in boyfriend, Sergio Barraza, admitted to murdering her and led police to the 17-year-old's burned and dismembered remains in a trash bin in June 2009. At the trial Barraza, who is also alleged to work for the criminal group Los Zetas, asserted his innocence claiming he had been tortured into confessing. He was absolved by a court in April 2010 for lack of evidence and allowed to walk free.

After appealing the case, the Superior Court Justice of Chihuahua found Rafael Barraza guilty of the murder and sentenced him to 50 years, however he was already on the run. A reward of 250,000 peso been issued for his capture.

The day after Ms Escobedo's murder, Governor Duarte called for the suspension of the three judges presiding over Barraza's trial. Barraza is also the prime suspect for Marisela's murder.

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