Mayor who confronted drug gangs found dead

A woman mayor hailed as a heroine for fearlessly standing up to Mexico’s brutal drug cartels has been found tortured and beaten to death at the side of a road.

Dr Maria Santos Gorrostieta, 36, the former mayor of Tiquicheo, west of Mexico City, had survived two assassination attempts and the murder of her first husband.

The mother of three and her second husband, Nereo Delgado Patinoran, were abducted nearly two weeks ago. He is still missing.

Dr Gorrostieta was killed by a blow to the head. But she had also been stabbed, her legs and hands had been bound and her waist and chest were covered in burns, suggesting she had been tortured.

Her body was found by residents of San Juan Tararameo who were heading to work in the fields. Dr Gorrostieta was once described as a ‘heroine of the 21st century’ for standing up against the drug cartels who have turned large areas of Mexico into a war zone.

In October 2009, gunmen opened fire on her car, wounding her and killing her husband, Jose Sanchez.

Three months later, a masked group carrying assault rifles ambushed her van, firing 30 shots. She was hit by three bullets and this time her injuries were more severe, leaving her scarred and in constant pain.

In a famous act of defiance, Dr Gorrostieta posed for pictures, showing the extent of her wounds to draw attention to the brutality of the drug gangs. She ran for the Mexican Congress but failed to win a seat.

More than 50 000 people have been killed in clashes between drug cartels and Mexico’s security forces since President Felipe Calderon ordered a clampdown in 2006. More than 20 mayors have been murdered. - Daily Mail