Catholics in Mexico are grieving the death of Maria Elizabeth Macias, a 39-year-old editor who was kidnapped and murdered by drug cartels in the border state of Tamaulipas.
Macias, a member of the Community of Scalabrinian Lay Movement and editor-in-chief of newspaper Primera Hora, was found dead on Sept. 24 after she went missing two days prior.
“After two days of research and dramatic silence, her lifeless body was found in a street in the city of Nuevo Laredo was she was born,” Father Francisco Pellizzari, Scalabrinian spiritual counselor for North America, told Fides news agency.
The Tamaulipas attorney general's office reported that a threatening message—“attributed to a criminal group”—was found next to her dismembered body and read “this happens to the media which is against us.” Macias was known for using social networking sites to report on certain criminal organizations.
“The state government expresses its deepest condolences to the relatives and loved ones affected by these lamentable acts,” the office said, noting that an investigation is currently underway.
Father Rui Pedro, a friend of Macias's, remembered her as “a woman of great faith and commitment to justice.”
As a member of the Central Committee of the Lay Scalabrinian Movement, she “worked with great affection and loyalty” at the Casa del Migrante in Nuevo Laredo and “maintained daily contact with many of us in the movement,” Fr. Pedro added.
The Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, or Scalabrinians, is an international community of religious and lay Catholics in 30 countries who help serve local migrants. The group was founded in 1887 by Italian bishop Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini.
Macias's death is the latest in a series of brutal attacks in Mexico on media members and activists opposed to the country's increasingly hostile drug trafficking climate.
According to the United Nations, the country is considered to be among the most dangerous for journalists as over a dozen have been killed by cartels so far this year.