Note: we are republishing this story which originally made the news in December 2020.
In a gripping tale of determination and courage, Miriam Elizabeth Rodríguez Martínez, a mother from San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico, took on the ruthless Los Zetas Cartel after her daughter, Karen Alejandra Salinas Rodriguez, was kidnapped and murdered in 2012. Her relentless pursuit of justice ultimately cost her life, echoing the plot of the movie “Taken.”
Karen, just 20 years old at the time, was abducted in 2012 by armed men from the Los Zetas Cartel. Despite the family’s compliance with the captors’ ransom demands, Karen was brutally murdered, and her remains were discovered in 2014.
In the wake of her daughter’s abduction and tragic death, Miriam embarked on an extraordinary journey, going to extreme lengths to track down her daughter’s killers. Using disguises, fake identification, and even a fake handgun, Miriam managed to locate and interrogate several members of the Los Zetas cartel, one of Mexico’s most dangerous criminal organizations.
One of her targets was a former florist turned cartel member. After receiving a tip about his whereabouts, Miriam confronted him near the Mexican-US border. She held him at gunpoint until authorities arrived to arrest him, an act of bravery that led to her being responsible for the apprehension of at least ten criminals, with Cristian Jose Zapata Gonzalez, who was only 18 at the time.
Miriam’s relentless pursuit led to a chilling encounter with one of the cartel members who offered to help locate her daughter for a price. She discovered the member’s nickname, Sama, and tracked him to an ice cream shop in Ciudad Victoria, two hours away. Her elaborate surveillance included disguises, fake polling, and the help of a police officer.
It wasn’t until September 2014 that Sama was apprehended, thanks to Miriam’s son, who spotted him at his store in Ciudad Victoria. Sama eventually revealed critical information about Karen’s murder, leading to the identification and capture of other accomplices.
Miriam’s unwavering determination came at a tragic cost. On Mother’s Day in 2017, she was shot 12 times outside her home and lost her life. Nevertheless, she is now celebrated as a heroine in her city, where organized crime often goes unchecked.
Her story serves as a testament to the power of a mother’s love and determination. In a region where authorities often turn a blind eye to organized crime, Miriam’s relentless pursuit of justice, much like Liam Neeson’s character in the film “Taken,” inspired those who knew her.
Her legacy lives on through a non-governmental group of 600 families, led by her surviving son, Luis, who continue their quest to find missing loved ones. Miriam’s courage in the face of danger and her fight for justice serve as a lasting inspiration for all.
In an area where justice often seems out of reach, Miriam’s story reminds us that the pursuit of justice is a duty worth undertaking, regardless of the risks involved.