A grieving mum armed with just a handgun, fake ID and disguises turned into a one-woman justice machine to stalk her daughter's killers and bring them to justice.
Miriam Rodríguez was left heartbroken and furious at the inaction of the authorities in Mexico when her daughter Karen was abducted.
She eventually discovered her tragic daughter's remains, along with information surrounding the members of the cartel who had carried out the killing – the Los Zetas, a mega-violent cartel formed of former special force soldiers.
Rodríguez vowed to hunt down all those responsible for the kidnap and murder of her 20-year-old daughter in 2012.
In a story reminiscent of the hit Hollywood film Taken, Rodriguez relentlessly tracked 10 of criminals of the Mexican drug cartel which is known as being one of the most dangerous in the country.
The revenge-driven mother disguised herself as health workers, election officials and more to infiltrate cartel member's families and chat to their unsuspecting siblings or grandmothers to get details on them.
All of the details, no matter how small, were put into her black computer bag where she was building out clues to effectively track down the criminals one by one, New York Times reported.
Rodriguez managed to investigate so thoroughly she knew the cartel members' friends, hometowns and childhoods.
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In one dramatic instance, she was able to track down a cartel member who she'd been hunting for a year after receiving a tip-off he was peddling flowers at the border.
After interrogating criminals he'd worked with and infiltrating relatives for tips on his location, she managed to find the group of vendor carts he was selling with.
Studying his photo as she scoured the area and dressed in nothing but a trench coat over her pyjamas with a baseball cap, she finally laid eyes on her target.
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But the excitement of getting justice for her daughter meant she got carried away and got too close, causing the target to spot her and run.
The 56-year-old sprinted after him through the packed market and down through a narrow pass, eventually managing to grab him by his shirt and smash him up against the railings – jamming her handgun into his back.
Rodríguez held the criminal for an hour until the police arrived, telling him "“If you move, I’ll shoot you,” according to family members who were assisting her mission.
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After assisting in the capture of 10 criminals related to her daughter's kidnapping and murder, Rodríguez herself was killed in 2017.
Gunmen broke into the 56-year-old's home and shot her 12 times on May 10, The Guardian reported.
Rodríguez had reportedly known she was at risk of death after the mission and had requested special protection from the police when her daughter's killer escaped from prison.
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The government claimed he was swiftly recaptured and that it sent extra police patrols to regularly check on Rodríguez.
Giovanni Barrios Moreno, whose own son disappeared in 2008 and who is now president of a group demanding improved security in Tamaulipas, said: "She was a brave person, who worried about others and had the courage of her convictions in her struggle.
“It’s a real demonstration of the non-existent security conditions in Tamaulipas, along with the lack of will on the part of the authorities to provide security.
"Tamaulipas is a failed state, where minimal measures of security do not exist for the population, much less vulnerable groups like social activists."
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