When earlier this month she was torn from her car, savagely beaten and then abducted (all in broad daylight), the only thing that 36 year-old Maria Santos Gorrostieta pleaded for was her daughter’s life. This week her body was found alongside a small road near the town of San Juan Tararameo with marks that according to authorities suggest she was tortured heavily before she was killed.
Prior to her death, Gorroriesta had already lost a great deal in her stand against drug-trafficking in Mexico. As mayor of the town of Tiquicheo from 2008 to early this year, she received dozens of death threats, and survived two assassination attempts–the first of which took her first husband’s life and the second of which left her with serious bullet wounds and forced to wear a colostomy bag. One of more than twenty mayors to have been killed (along with 50,000 other Mexicans) since President Felipe Calderon began a “War on Drugs” six years ago, she is survived by her daughter and her second husband. In a public statement released shortly after her second near-miss with death, the motive of Gorrostieta’s bravery is clearly outlined: “Freedom brings with it responsibilities and I don’t dare fall behind.” // Patrick Barrett