Demonstrators demanded justice Sunday at the Benito Juárez Monument in Juárez following the unsolved killing of an artist and activist this weekend.
Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre was found shot to death on a sidewalk next to a bicycle early Saturday in downtown Juárez, the Chihuahua attorney general’s office reported.
Cabanillas had stated on a past Facebook post that she used a bicycle as her mode of transportation.
The 26-year-old painter, clothing designer and women’s rights activist had been reported missing by friends Saturday on social media posts after she didn’t make it home.
The state prosecutor’s unit dealing with women’s murders said that investigators got a call at 3 a.m. Saturday that a woman was killed near the Mercado Juárez.
The woman, later identified as Cabanillas, was killed on Inocente Ochoa and Francisco I. Madero streets, the attorney general’s office said in a news release. Two bullet casings were located at the scene.
Cabanillas was a member of Hijas de su Maquilera Madre (Daughters of Maquila Worker Mothers), a local women’s rights collective.
The group described Cabanillas as a young woman with “a lot of talent, ideas and love to share.”
No possible motive for the fatal shooting has been disclosed and there had been no arrests.
“We demand respect, justice, security,” the group JRZ Art stated on social media, demanding that authorities to do their duty.
There have been more than 40 murders in Juárez this year, according to a daily tally by the Norte Digital news website. There were nearly 1,500 homicides in 2019 amid a rise in violence in the border city.
Artist, activist and women’s groups demonstrated Sunday at the Benito Juárez Monument in honor of Cabanillas while demanding an end to the rampant violence and the murders of women, Norte reported.
There have been decadeslong concerns over disappearances and femicides in Juárez
JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — A painter, clothing designer and mother of a young child, Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre still found time to speak up for women victims of crime and sexual violence.
The 26-year-old participated in The Observatory, a project that tracks crimes against women in Juarez, and in various collaboratives on women’s rights, culture and democracy. “She was an enterprising young woman, an artist and an activist who fervently believed our kind has a right to a life free of violence,” said Imelda Marrufo, leader of Red Mesa de Mujeres, the group that sponsors The Observatory.
Cabanillas was shot to death early Saturday apparently while riding her bicycle home in Downtown Juarez. Her death has shocked a community that in 2019 buried nearly 180 female homicide victims. Hundreds of mourners marched on Sunday to a memorial ceremony at Juarez Monument Park. Dozens more attended a private funeral on Monday.
Chihuahua state police on Monday said Cabanillas was shot in the back of the head near the corner of Madero and Ochoa streets — less than half a mile away from the U.S. border. Police found two spent bullet casings and her bicycle next to the body.
Authorities haven’t established a motive for the murder, but activists say Cabanillas’ death runs counter to the police narrative that most killings of women in Juarez are drug-related. They say witnesses last saw her leaving a gathering of friends in Downtown Juarez just before 3 a.m., heading home.
“We don’t question that some victims were (involved) with criminals, but 180 murders are too many. We cannot minimize the violence that exists against women because this will generate impunity. We need prevention,” Marrufo said. “And if they say ‘nothing will happen to you if you’re not into organized crime,’ now we know that’s not true.”