Mexico mother seeking justice killed on street

MEXICO CITY — A mother campaigning to bring the confessed killer of her 16-year-old daughter to justice was herself gunned down Thursday night in view of a closed circuit television camera, leaving images that shocked Mexicans over the impunity of the killers.

The murder of Marisela Escobedo unfolded Thursday night on the sidewalk in front of the governor's palace in Chihuahua city, the capital of Chihuahua state.

Escobedo, a retired nurse, was at a protest booth in the main plaza across the street demanding that the man who confessed to killing her daughter and dismembering her body in 2008 be hunted down.

A closed-circuit camera captured the 20 seconds or so at 8:10 p.m. when a man got out of a white Volkswagen Jetta and approached Escobedo in the square. Frightened by him, Escobedo ran across the street, dodging busy traffic, the assailant only footsteps behind her. He shot her with a 9mm pistol in the head at the entrance to the governor's palace.

The video shows the killer running back across the street and getting in the waiting car, which pulled away.

The brazen hit on a grieving mother — in the capital of a state renowned for hundreds of murders of women and girls — sparked condemnation from within Mexico and from abroad.

After Escobedo's daughter disappeared in August 2008, her live-in boyfriend fled the state. Nearly a year later, the mother located the boyfriend, Sergio Rafael Barraza, in nearby Zacatecas state, leading investigators to him. Barraza later confessed and identified the site where he'd buried the girl after killing her.

In April of this year, a three-judge panel acquitted Barraza of the murder despite his confession, freeing him. After complaints from then-Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza, an appeals court overturned the verdict and set a 50-year jail term.

Prosecutors made little effort to find the fugitive, leaving Escobedo herself to track down him down once again. She did so, and led a law enforcement unit in July to Zacatecas, a state to the southeast. But Barraza escaped again.