A little girl in red socks

The police detained a mother and a stepfather suspected of murdering a four-year-old girl whose body was found on the streets of Nezahualcóyotl, Mexico, on March 18, 2017. The murderers were captured only due to the involvement of journalists. Mexico has been dealing with feminicide for years. More than 1,500 women and girls were murdered last year.

Journalists’ investigation

The girl’s dead body was dumped near the bus depot. One of the residents accidentally came across it and the police quickly informed the media that the victim was four or five years old. She was wearing red socks, a green T-shirt, black shoes, white shorts and was lying on a yellow, baby blanket. She was probably raped and then beaten to death. Since no one reported her missing during the following months, the authorities buried the nameless girl in one of the cemeteries in the state of Mexico.

The police did not make public the image of the child hoping that people would quickly forget about the tragedy. Mexicans did not know too much about the girl that was killed, and they often confused this story with the case of “a little girl in a suitcase”. There were many similarities anyway. On March 23, 2015, a body of the two-year-old girl was found stuffed in a suitcase in the city centre of Mexico. The child was most likely from Central America. She was sexually abused before dead and killed by a blow to the head. Although her image was made public, no one claimed the body. The police have not identified the perpetrators of the murder. Three months later she was buried in a cemetery in the city of Mexico. She was given a name Angelita.

Frida Guerrero, a journalist and an activist who has been fighting for women’s rights for years, saw the indifference of the authorities regarding the murder of the little girl in red socks and decided to react.

– This has become personal – says the journalist – No one was looking for that child, no one shouted on her behalf. No important media tried to find out what happened to her.
Thanks to her connections, she was the first to see the photos of a girl taken at the crime scene. Her small body was covered with bruises and scars, and traces of bites were visible. Her nose and mouth were filled with pebbles, which indicated she was dragged to the ground. Her eyes were half-open at the moment of death.

Victims did not exist

Frida Guerrero asked a cartoonist to prepare a professional image of a murdered girl’s face. In November 2017, the media made her image public for the first time. The press, TV stations and the Internet took part in that action. Activists began to put up posters with a portrait of the child in the city of Nezahualcóyotl.

– Although most murders of women have been committed in the state of Mexico in recent years, the state government is not interested in this issue at all. The only thing they can do is to deny that there were any victims – says Frida Guerrero.

More than 22,000 women were murdered in Mexico over the last ten years. The most common causes of death were: mutilation, suffocation, hanging, burning, stabbing and shooting. Between 2007 and 2016 the number of homicide increased by 153%. In 2017, more than 1,500 women were brutally killed. The highest number of crimes was committed in the state of Mexico and in the nearby states: Guerrero, Hidalgo, Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala.

– Feminicide and all the terrible things done to these girls is a serious matter – says the journalist. – The police, judges and public institutions must be aware of what is going on, so we will be able to face what is happening in the country.

Her name was Lupita

When the image of the murdered girl was made public, Frida Guerrero received a phone call from the girl’s aunt. She was told that the four-year-old girl was named Lupita, but she was never registered in a registry office, so she did not have a surname. Lupita was often hungry, so she used to enter her neighbours’ houses without asking and begged for food. Soon, the police detained Lupita’s mother and the stepfather. During the testimony, they admitted that they started to beat Lupita because she did not ask for the permission to use the restroom. When Lupita died because of the injuries, they took the body away from home to cover up her death. Detainees are now in prison. They wait for the results of genetic tests of mother and Lupita’s stepsister.

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