Maria Santos Gorrostieta stood up to drug cartels as the mayor of the Mexican district of Tiquicheo, but after surviving two assassination attempts the cartel kidnapped and killed the 36-year-old.
Witnesses say that Maria Santos Gorrostieta was driving her young daughter to school at around 8:30 am last week when her car was ambushed. Members of a Mexican gang pulled Gorrostieta from her car as the woman begged for her attackers to spare her daughter, then seemed to go willingly into their car when they agreed.
The incident occurred on November 12, and family members searched frantically for Gorrostieta in the meantime and hoped for a phone call with ransom demands, the Daily Mail reported. The call never came.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta’s body was later found dumped by a roadside in San Juan Tararameo, Cuitzeo Township. She had been stabbed, burned, beaten, and tied at the wrist and ankle.
Gorrostieta was hailed as a heroine in a country torn apart by violence. She stood up to the drug cartels, refusing to buckle to their pressure even though Mexican officials saw her defiance as almost a death wish. Last year she chose to withdraw her security team and police escort.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta started getting death threats almost immediately after being elected mayor of Tiquicheo, a rural district in Michoacan, west of Mexico City, in 2008. In October 2009 the car she was in with then-husband Jose Sanchez came under fire, claiming Jose’s life.
Though Gorrostieta recovered, the attacks did not stop. Three months later a masked group of men carrying assault rifles ambushed her on a road and fired 30 rounds at her, hitting her three times.
After the attack Gorrorstieta defiantly posted pictures of her scars, noting that there was no reason why she should be targeted, the BBC reported.
“I have a clear conscience, I have never had any issues of any kind, be it money, family or crime related, and I have never had any fights with any neighbours or residents of my town, or any other town,” Maria Santos Gorrostieta said.