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Miriam Rodríguez spent years tracking down her daughter's killers, one by one, until she was murdered on Mother's Day in 2017.

Until the end of her life, one thing consumed Miriam Rodríguez: justice. Her 20-year-old daughter, Karen, had been abducted and killed by Mexican cartel members in 2014, and Rodríguez became determined to hunt down every one of her daughter’s kidnappers.

Her quest led her to change her appearance, stake out cartel members’ homes, and spend hours scrolling through social media for clues. Carrying a pistol, Rodríguez often hunted down her daughter’s kidnappers herself, sometimes pursuing them on foot until the police arrived.

Rodríguez’s dogged pursuit of justice made her something of a hero in San Fernando, Mexico. But it made her enemies, too. And on Mother’s Day in 2017, the 57-year-old was shot and killed outside her home.

The Abduction Of Miriam Rodríguez’s Daughter

For Miriam Elizabeth Rodríguez Martínez, everything changed on Jan. 23, 2014. That day, as her 20-year-old daughter Karen Alejandra Salinas Rodríguez drove through San Fernando, two trucks pulled up beside her. Armed men forced their way into her car, and then drove off with her.

Rodríguez and her family spent the next several weeks trying to bring Karen home. They knew that she had been taken by members of the Zetas cartel — an offshoot of the Gulf Cartel — who were known to kidnap innocent people and use their ransoms to fund cartel operations.

As The New York Times reports, Karen’s loved ones tried to follow all of the cartel’s instructions. Inundated with a barrage of phone calls, threats, and demands, they took out a loan to pay Karen’s ransom and left a bag of money at a drop-off point. Still, Karen didn’t come home.

With no other options, Miriam Rodríguez asked to meet with a cartel member. To her surprise, one agreed. Though he told her that he didn’t know where Karen was, he offered to help find her for $2,000. Rodríguez paid the fee, which led nowhere. But she also learned the young man’s name: Sama.

With this information in hand, Rodríguez had found her first clue. She told her surviving daughter that she believed that Karen was dead, but that she would not rest until she’d hunted down Karen’s kidnappers.

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