Mexican mother confronts loss, corruption and impunity in a ‘femicide nation’

© Rebecca Blackwell, AP

High rates of femicide, combined with a poor track record of bringing perpetrators to justice – particularly the wealthy and powerful – have made Mexico the most dangerous country for women in Latin America, according to the UN. But one grieving mother is determined to seek justice for her murdered daughter, despite the odds.

At 8:35pm on June 18, a Saturday, Patricia Garcia received a call informing her that her daughter, Frida Santamaria Garcia, was injured and in hospital.

Frida had spent that day working at a reception hall where a baptism party had been held, her mother recounted in a telephone interview from Sahuayo, a city in the western Mexican state of Michoacán.

"I immediately called her cousin, who worked with her, to ask if he knew anything. He called my daughter's phone, but it was her boyfriend, Juan Paulo N., who answered," Garcia said.

When she arrived at the Hospital Santa Maria Sahuayo, Garcia learned that her daughter had been shot. Frida had been left for dead after being robbed of her cell phone, she was told. The gunshots had punctured the young woman’s lungs and liver.

"It was the most terrible moment of my life," Garcia said. "A few minutes later, the doctor told me my daughter was dead."

Frida, 24, still had her whole life ahead of her when it was brutally cut short with a firearm.

"She was a very humble person with a big heart. She cared about the well-being of her family and friends. She was unconditional, loyal. She was unique," her grieving mother said.

His retraction and delayed confession prompted the regional public prosecutor's office in Jiquilpan to reduce the charges against him to involuntary homicide.


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