As femicide remains rampant in Mexico women across the country have been raising awareness and mobilizing against the machismo that’s at the root of the violence. The newly released Netflix documentary The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo explores activism and subsequent murder of Escobedo, who set out to find the killer of her 16-year-old daughter Rubi Marisol Frayre Escobedo, who was killed in 2008. Her daughter’s body was discovered charred and dismembered on a hog farm near Juárez. It’s only in recent years that Mexico began to look into femicide deaths with the country officially counting femicide date in 2012, four years after Rubi’s death. Rubi was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend, a common occurrence in these crimes where nearly half of the women killed in Mexico knew their murderer, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The film explores the systemic impunity that’s only worsened the violence — 93 percent of crimes were either not reported or not investigated in 2018 — and how Escobedo sets out to investigate her daughter’s murder herself. When her boyfriend, Sergio Rafael Barraza Boca Negra, incriminates himself in court by giving the location of where he buried Rubi’s dismembered body he’s still acquitted due to a lack of evidence. This injustice is what set Escobedo on a two-year journey seeking justice for her daughter’s murder and what led to her eventual murder.
Escobedo traveled the country and conducted her own investigations sparing no corrupt state officials or criminals from her fury, the reason for her death as implied in the trailer. A circuit court overturned Barrazza’s acquittal and sentenced him for murder yet he remained a fugitive. El Paso Times reports Barraza was suspected of ordering Escobedo’s death. He was killed in a confrontation with the Mexican military in Zacatecas state in 2012 and was a suspected member of the Zetas cartel. On Dec. 16, 2010, Escobedo was shot and killed while collecting petition signatures on a sidewalk outside the Government Palace in the state capital of Chihuahua City, according to El Paso Times archives. Though her brother believes her killer has yet to be found, Jose Enrique Jimenez Zavala was reported as her killer, saying he was carrying out orders from the Zetas and La Linea cartels, RadioTimes reports.
“We won’t allow another young woman to be assassinated in our city,” she can be heard saying in Spanish in the trailer for the documentary. At the start of the trailer, she introduces herself and says, “I’ve lost the fear of all things.”
The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo is available in Spanish on Netflix now.