Altar in tribute to Victoria Salazar in Tulum. Photo Marvin Recinos / AFP.
An altar in tribute to Victoria Salazar in Tulum. Photo Marvin Recinos / AFP.

Salvadoran woman who died in police custody had reported abuses

The Salvadoran woman, Victoria Salazar, who died in police custody, had filed a complaint of sexual abuse against her partner.


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Victoria Salazar died Saturday, March 28 after a police officer brutally subdued her and knelt on top of her on a street in the beach resort of Tulum. An autopsy has determined that Salazar had a broken neck as well as a fractured upper spine. Authorities have confirmed that four agents — three men and one woman — are being investigated for possible physical and sexual abuse of which Victoria was the alleged victim.

Victoria Salazar left El Salvador fleeing poverty, limited opportunities and violence in her country, but it was in  Mexico where she lost her life at the hands of police officers. The images of the moment in which Salazar was subdued by the police have gone around the world and the commotion over her death continues, as well as the demands for justice.

Last week, the Salvadoran mother of two daughters was in a small grocery store in Tulum when Manuel Barradas, the store's owner thought Salazar was "weird", so he prevented her from entering the store, police arrested her shortly after for "disturbing the peace."

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assumed that Salazar was "brutally treated and murdered" by agents in the city of Tulum and reaffirmed his commitment to ensure that the case does not go unpunished.

Meanwhile, the Salvadoran president, Nayib Bukele, denounced via Twitter that Victoria had reported that her partner had abused her daughters. However, this complaint had no major repercussions. "Victoria denounced weeks ago and took her daughter to a shelter to protect her. Unfortunately, nothing was done until now, with Victoria murdered, it is only now that they are following up on the case," Bukele wrote. 

In the last hours it was knowned that the Court of First Instance of the Judicial District of Tulum has issued preventive detention for the four police officers implicated in the woman's death. This Saturday, April 3, they are expected to continue with the hearing in which they are accused of the crime of femicide. The policemen have been transferred to the Municipal Jail of Playa del Carmen and the agent to the Municipal Jail of Cancun, at the request of the Attorney General's Office of Quintana Roo, as confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador through Twitter.

From El Salvador, Salazar's family and her two girls demanded punishment for those responsible for her death. Victoria was residing as a refugee and working legally in Mexico seeking a better future for her two daughters.



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