CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (TheBlaze/AP) — Is the killer of two bus drivers in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez actually a female vigilante seeking revenge for alleged sexual abuse of female bus passengers?
It’s a question Mexican prosecutors are taking seriously enough to investigate—especially in a city, just across the river from El Paso, Tex., with a grim history of sexual violence against women aboard buses.
A woman wearing a blond wig — or dyed hair — boarded one of the school bus-style vehicles that serve as transport in Ciudad Juarez on Wednesday morning. She approached the driver, took out a pistol, shot him in the head, and left the bus, the Associated Press reports.
The next day apparently the same woman did the same thing to another driver on the same route, the AP notes, and then media outlets got emails from “Diana the hunter of bus drivers” over the weekend.
“I myself and other women have suffered in silence but we can’t stay quiet anymore,” the email said. “We were victims of sexual violence by the drivers on the night shift on the routes to the maquilas” (a reference to the assembly plants that employ many residents in Ciudad Juarez). “I am the instrument of vengeance for several women.”
The newspaper Diario de Juarez reports that a witness quoted the bus-driver killer as telling the second victim, “You guys think you’re real bad, don’t you?” and then shot him.
Authorities have not verified the authenticity of the messages sent to news organizations, but spokesman Arturo Sandoval says revenge had been considered a possible motive from the start in last week’s slayings.
The city government also says it will put undercover police aboard some buses and conduct weapons searches to prevent further killings.
More from the AP:
Many of the women murdered during a string of more than 100 eerily similar women’s killings in Ciudad Juarez in the 1990s and early 2000s disappeared after boarding buses. Their bodies were often found weeks or months later, raped, strangled and dumped in the desert or vacant lots.
Several bus drivers were arrested in connection with those killings, but the cases against them always appeared weak, or their confessions coerced. One driver had his conviction overturned, and his co-defendant, another bus driver, died in prison before sentencing.
The head of the Chihuahua Women’s Human Rights Center, Lucha Castro, said that perhaps the killer “or someone close to her suffered some abuse by one of these guys.”
“It’s a fact that there are sexual abuse cases on the bus routes, but it’s no greater than women disappearing from the streets in downtown, in human trafficking rings,” Castro said.
But, she added, like the still-unresolved identities of most of the 1990s killers, “The most tragic thing is that the public may never know what the truth is.”