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Pre-2008 Posts

Crimes Against Women: Woman Dragged A Mile to Her Death

One Mile Trail of Blood

The winding, dark discoloration on the pavement above, which spans one highway mile, is the blood of Luz Maria Franco Fierros, or what remains of her blood after crews hired to clean it from the highway did their best to do so. Fierros was 49, the single mother of three daughters and one son, all of whom lived in the humble home Fierros bought for the family in a small town 130 miles south of Mexico City. Accumulating debt motivated her to take out a second mortgage on her home last spring and to use the money to cross the border into the United States, traveling north to Denver, where a friend had told her there was work. She held three jobs, one at Taco Bell, one at Wendy’s, and one selling corn at a small roadway stand. She was looking forward to paying off her debts and returning home. She called her children (the youngest of whom was 17) every day. One daughter had recently miscarried, intensifying Fierros’ determination to return home soon.

She shared an inexpensive apartment with three men, one of whom was her “boyfriend.” Every day she had breakfast with a girlfriend in a nearby apartment. Those who knew her describe her as a happy woman, redhaired, green-eyed, hardworking, passionate.

Last week the “boyfriend”, Jose Luis Rubi-Nava, 36, knotted an orange tow rope around her neck, tied her to the back of the car she owned, which she shared with him, and dragged her over a mile down the paved concrete highway to her death, leaving the trail of blood depicted above, which also spanned over a mile. When her naked body was discovered, it was unrecognizable. There was so much blood, highway cleaning crews could not clean it all up and special contractors had to be called in. Investigators say she was alive when she was tied to the car. Someone left a photo of the woman and her boyfriend-become-murderer near the body. He was arrested and confessed. She was identified by her fingerprints.

I first read this story in the local Seattle newspapers last week, towards the back of the national news sections of each paper, the stories commanding maybe two column inches or so of space, maximum. She was just another woman killed by her boyfriend, you know? Exceptionally brutal as the story might be, still it wasn’t, in the eyes of reporters, shocking or outrageous or important enough to make front page headlines.

I noticed reading the reports of the death that there seemed to be substantial interest in letting readers know that Fierros had told her girlfriend and breakfast partner on more than one occasion that she felt like killing this man, who would ultimately murder her, or that when they fought, as they sometimes did, she was proud to say she landed more blows than he did. You would have to pay closer attention to notice what women are more likely to notice: that the “boyfriend” was a jealous and possessive man. That she had crossed the border illegally and so would have feared calling police. That her goal was to earn money and return home to her family. Stories reported she worked two jobs, one mentioning only in passing that she also sold corn, and enjoyed that third job. If you are a woman, you notice that despite this backbreaking work schedule and tenuous living situation, she made time for her girlfriends and made time to call home every day. If you are a woman you notice that although she was a single mom, she bought her family a house, meaning all of her life she probably worked several jobs while raising her children. So, yes, this small woman, 5 feet tall, 130 pounds, probably landed more blows indeed. She was fighting for her life, as she had always fought for her life and her children’s lives. It was a number of days before her killer was apprehended; during those days, he used her car.

Last week, she lost her fight. Friends in Colorado have placed donation jars in businesses and stores; funds collected will be used to pay the mortgage payments, for as long as possible, on the house her children still live in. She will be buried in Mexico, eventually.

This was a hate crime. It was an unconscionably and intentionally brutal and premeditated murder of a woman by a man. It deserved and still deserves front page coverage. The problem is there are so many women murdered by men, boyfriends, especially, that this kind of story doesn’t really command much attention. There’s a lot of interest vested, too, in the general public not paying attention to how common this kind of story is. Hence, we hear about Fierros’ propensity for fighting. Hence, we hear her murderer described as her boyfriend. Hence we don’t read, on the front page, about a man who in cold blood tied a woman to a car while she was still alive and dragged her behind that car, spilling her blood for a country mile on that cold pavement.

As I wrote in the post of a few days ago, The Truth About Men, hating women does not keep men from wanting us. Wanting us does not keep men from killing us. The war men wage on women they wage on and on.

Links to news reports can be found here, here, and here.




42 thoughts on “Crimes Against Women: Woman Dragged A Mile to Her Death

  1. Yes.

    When I last heard, one of my students was being charged with battery because she hit her boyfriend back when he hit her; it appeared that charges against him might be dropped.

    I could go on.

    Posted by Professor Zero | September 24, 2006, 5:04 pm
  2. When my ex-partner was strangling me, I automatically clawed out at his face. After which admitted to hospital with breathing problems and cerebral irritation, I was administered I.V. therapy/drugs, oxygen etc. The police advised me that as I had made such a ‘mess of his face’ that it was pointless to press any charges as it would be too difficult to prove who ‘started’ it. Sorry if this sounds like a dump, it is just this post and Prof Zero’s comment brought it back to the foreground

    Posted by sparklematrix | September 24, 2006, 7:58 pm
  3. That sounds like braggadocio to me. A desperate woman trying not to fall down, literally and figuratively. I hit back. Oh yes I did. I’m not one of those women who cowers. If she hadn’t hit back? Women do the wrong thing, no matter what we do: fight back, don’t fight back. If we say we were raped, was there blood? Well how much blood?

    I hope this was enough blood.

    Posted by Pony | September 24, 2006, 8:35 pm
  4. It’s not a dump, sparklematrix, it’s a relief to see that other lucid people aren’t immune to this stuff, either. It’s also evidence, which is important.

    My ex may find this, read it, and accuse me of excessive imagination (again), or ‘character defamation’, but oh well. He’s not physically violent, but I think that is because he does not need to be, since he is emotionally and sometimes verbally violent, and this works just as well (if not better, since it’s harder to pin down).

    I am good at fighting words with words, and did. I believe he has convinced himself, and anyone else who listens, that the abuser is me. … Somehow, we are expected to avoid having any of this happen to us, but not see it happening systematically all around us … and then if it does happen to us, any reaction or non-reaction we have, is the wrong one.

    Posted by Professor Zero | September 25, 2006, 4:48 am
  5. Sparkle matrix, how horrible. 😦 What you are all talking about is what is at the bottom of these figures which purport to show that women are “just as violent” as men and just as likely to batter. That’s baloney. All anyone has to do is take a look at who actually kills whom, who actually puts whom in the hospital, to know who is the aggressor and who was trying to defend ehrself.

    Professor Zero, continuing with what I just was saying, it’s also so common for abusers to accuse their victims of being abusers — again, for defending themselves. Emotional and verbal violence does work very well to hurt women.

    Here is a beautiful article about the woman dragged to her death. What an amazing woman she was.


    Mother of four was saving to finish house

    By Ivan Moreno, Rocky Mountain News
    September 25, 2006

    Sky blue and white. Colors of the Virgin Mary. The colors Luz Maria Franco Fierros told her family she wanted to be wearing when she was buried to symbolize her religious devotion.

    Fierros, a 49-year-old Mexican immigrant and mother of four, came to Denver a year ago to work and send her family money to finish building a home that has been a work in progress for about 15 years.

    Fierros was killed last week after being dragged behind a car for more than a mile in Douglas County.

    A single mother, Fierros wanted most of all to finish building her family’s house, said her daughter, Blanca Anel Leyva Franco, 27.

    “For us, it wasn’t necessary for her to go,” Leyva Franco said.

    Her mother had planned on returning within the next year, she said.

    Born Feb. 17, 1957, in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Fierros came from a “humble family” and began working when she was 8 years old, Leyva Franco said.

    She was a farm worker, a dishwasher and sold candy on the streets, Leyva Franco said.

    Because of Fierros light skin, green eyes and chestnut hair, she was known to townspeople as “La Güera” – “the light-skinned one” – said her oldest daughter, Natividad Lopez Franco, 31.

    From her early 20s to her late 30s, Fierros waited tables and saved up enough money to buy a parcel of land where she started building a house from adobe, grass, mud, wood and cement.

    The concrete has begun to crumble and the mud is now visible in some parts of the house, Leyva Franco said.

    Still, the house is evidence of her hard work, Leyva Franco said, adding that every wall and every piece of wood is a testament to her mother’s effort.

    Fierros mortgaged her house to raise money to come to the U.S.

    “If you were here and saw how life is, then you’d know why (she left),” Leyva Franco said. Even so, because her mother always was working, they lacked nothing, she said.

    While in Mexico, Fierros rode a tricycle with a basket on the front to sell vegetables at dawn every day. At night, she sold cooked sweet corn. And during the day, for a time she managed a small store out of her house, selling candy, eggs and toiletries.

    During her year in Glendale, Fierros worked at two fast-food restaurants and continued to sell sweet corn out of the trunk of her car.

    Fierros put the same energy into having fun as she did into working. Lopez Franco said her mother liked going to parties to dance.

    “As much as she liked to work, she liked to have fun, yes,” Lopez Franco said.

    She said her mother called every day, sometimes twice a day, to ask how her family was doing.

    Fierros’ family is trying to stay true to her mother’s spirit and follow her instructions to not be saddened by her death.

    She also told them to play music; not just any music, but the music of Mexican pop idol Vicente Fernandez, whom Fierros met when she was young. It was her birthday when she met him and Fernandez sang Las Mañanitas to her.

    “She told us that when she died, if we didn’t have money to pay for the mariachi, then we should play the music of Vicente Fernandez on the stereo,” Lopez Franco said.

    So now, in a room in her house, there’s an altar with a picture of Fierro, flowers, candles and a boombox playing all of Fernandez’s songs that she loved to listen to.

    Besides Lopez Franco and Leyva Franco, Fierro is survived by daughter Esmeralda Leyva Franco, 25; son Diego Dionicio Franco, 17; and four granddaughters.

    Donations in memory of Luz Maria Franco Fierros can be made at any Wells Fargo bank. The money will go to help her family in Mexico keep their house.



    Posted by womensspace | September 25, 2006, 4:56 pm
  6. i too have been stunned by this murder. i believe the picture is of his wife in mexico. not the Fierros. i appreciate reading your thinking. va

    Posted by virginia throckmorton | September 26, 2006, 10:37 am
  7. I am also stunned by this murder and by the fact that women who “hit back” are often charged with battery when charges are dropped against the boy”friend”, or whatever he is, who battered her in the first place. I think the problem is that our police and criminal “justice” systems are really just by and for men.

    Posted by Branjor | September 26, 2006, 1:15 pm
  8. My first reaction to the news, was that this is a hate crime. I have read about similar inicidents done to Blacks (men). To me the style of the murder is of hate groups. It is hard for me to believe that her boyfriend did it, even if he confessed. He could have been pressured.

    Men that murder women beat them up, shoot them or stab them.

    In my heart I suspect the story given by the media is a cover-up because of how sensitive people are about the immigration issues. Everytime heated issues arise there are always reactions. Since there have been intense debates about immigration reforms and the sort this could have triggered the wrong reactions by haters.

    Posted by MGA | September 27, 2006, 8:59 pm
  9. I think if he (her “boyfriend”) didn’t do it, then another man did. Does that make it any less worse? I don’t see a big stretch between beatings, stabbings, shootings and this. Men kidnap women and girls, rape them, keep them in holes they have dug out of the ground ahead of time for the specific purpose of torturing women*, and everything else under the sun.

    I don’t know if you meant it to, but your post rubbed me the wrong way MGA. It seems like you were taking the focus off of women and on immigrants. Even if she was murdered because of her status, she was still a WOMAN and I don’t doubt that wasn’t taking into consideration by her murder(s). These are no isolated incidents. On average 3 women a DAY are murdered by their current or former male partners.

    *story here:

    Posted by psyck | September 28, 2006, 2:00 am
  10. putting the focus on immigration doesn’t take it off women. she is BOTH. Being an immigrant woman is a particular way of experiencing gender.

    Posted by rabfish | September 28, 2006, 5:06 pm
  11. In the story linked above:

    “The bunker where Shoaf was found was well-built and stocked with food, as well as cigarettes and pornography.

    “There was pornography wherever he was — in his house, in his bunkers, wherever he was,” McCaskill said.”

    Posted by Pony | September 28, 2006, 5:34 pm
  12. Hey, rabfish, good to read you here, and so right on.

    And yeah, Pony, I saw that. 😦


    Posted by womensspace | September 28, 2006, 6:07 pm
  13. Yo BLANCA ANEL LEYVA FRANCO, Tengo 27 años segunda hija de LUZ MARIA FRANCO FIERROS. Mi mamà con un solo proposito se fue a ESTADOS UNIDOS con la idea de mejorar la casa que esta apunto de caer, para que nosotros sus 4 hijos tuvieramos una casita bonita y mas acojedora.Aun nosotros estamos esperando a que toque la puerta, y que nos diga ” Hijos ya estoy aqui no estoy muerta” “Vengan denme un abrazo fuerte”…..No hemos asimilado la idea de que ella esta dormida y descanzando en el panteòn municipal.Nosotros tenemos en el corazon a una Mujer ejemplar, luchona por la vida y de que siempre ella vio que siempre tuvieramos alimento en la casa. Para nosotros aun es muy dificil el pensar que ella no esta, yo todas las noches lloro su ausencia, corro al sonar el telefono y quiero que sea ella. AHora llegamos a la casa y se siente un vacio profundo muy profundo.Ella nos dejo solo su alegria y tratamos de ponerla en practica para asi poder salir adelante..Espero que esto no le pase a nadie por que es una cosa horrible….Nos quitaron a Mamà….

    Posted by Blanca Anel Leyva Franco | October 21, 2006, 2:37 am
  14. Por que nos las quitaron???Ese señor sabia que ella era lo unico que teniamos, nunca tuvimos a nuestro Papà, ella siempre queria lo mejor para sus hijos y ella murio por nosotros…….Que Dios perdone a Jose Rubi-Nava…

    Posted by Blanca Anel Leyva Franco | October 21, 2006, 2:40 am
  15. Blanca Anel Leyva Franco– I don’t speak Spanish, and I am hoping someone who does will respond to what you have written here. I tried to translate your comments using a web translater, and the translation wasn’t good, but it was enough that I know that you are one of the children of Luz Maria Franco Fierros and that you are awash in grief and feeling unbearable loss. I grieve with you although I never met your mother. She was an amazing, amazing woman, she accomplished so much in her short life, and that she is taken from you and from the world in this way is a tragedy it is so hard to come to terms with, even for me, someone who never had the pleasure and honor of meeting her.

    I will light a candle for you and for the new grandchild and all your family and will pray for you. I am honored that you wrote here. Your mother will not be forgotten. Somehow, we as women must find a way to make a memorial for all of the many women like your amazing mother.


    Posted by womensspace | October 21, 2006, 3:04 am
  16. If someone is fluent in Spanish and reading this, could you translate my comment into Spanish as well, as a courtesy?


    Posted by womensspace | October 21, 2006, 3:06 am
  17. Heart, I’m not fluent but here is my attempt. Words I could not translate are in parenthesis.

    I am BLANCA ANEL LEYVA FRANCO I am 27 years old, the second daughter of LUZ MARIA FRANCO FIERROS. My mother with a singular purpose went to the United States hoping to improve this house which is about to fall, so that we, her four children, could have a pretty little house, more (acojedora). We still wait for her to knock on the door to say “Children! Here I am, I’m not dead! Come give me a big hug!”
    We can’t accept the idea that she is asleep, resting in the municipal mausoleum(?). We have in our hearts a most exemplary woman, who fought hard for life and always made sure we had food in our house.
    For us it is very hard to think she is not around, and every night I cry for her absence. I run when the phone rings hoping that it is her. Now when we go home there is a profound, very profound vacuum.
    All she left us was her happiness which we try to remember and practice so that it will come out (adelante).

    I hope this never happens to anyobody because it is a horrible thing.

    Why did he (quitaron) us? He knew she was all we had, we never had a father, she always wanted the best for her children and she died for us. God help Jose Rubi-Nava…

    Posted by saltyC | October 21, 2006, 3:29 am
  18. :”””””””(

    Posted by womensspace | October 21, 2006, 3:32 am
  19. BLANCA ANEL LEYVA FRANCO querida, Heart no habla español y ni yo, (hablo portuguese) pero ella quer dizer algo para usted, entonces procurei a traducir la mensaje della.

    Ruego para ustedes

    Aqui esta la mensaje de Heart:Lloro con usted aunque nunca conocía a su madre. Ella era una mujer de muy gran alcance. Ella logró tanto en su vida corta. La manera que fue tomada de usted y tomada del mundo es una tragedia. Es imposible aceptar. No puedo aceptar aunque me nunca honraria para conocerla. Encenderé una vela para usted y toda su familia y rogaré para usted. Me honra a que usted escribió aquí. Su madre no será olvidada. De alguna manera, nosotros como las mujeres deben encontrar una manera de hacer un monumento para todas las mujeres como su madre ejemplar. Corazón=Heart

    Posted by saltyC | October 21, 2006, 3:44 am
  20. Hey – SaltyC’s basically got it. It is easier to paste the whole thing in & do it again than just put in a few words, so here goes:

    # Blanca Anel Leyva Franco Says:
    October 21st, 2006 at 2:37 am

    I BLANCA ANEL LEYVA FRANCO, I am 27 years old and I am the second daughter of LUZ MARIA FRANCO FIERROS. My mother went to the UNITED STATES for a single reason: the idea of improving our house which is about to fall down, so that we, her four children, would have a pretty and more welcoming/pleasant house. We are still waiting for her knock on the door, and for her to say “Children, I am here now, I am not dead”, “Come, give me a big hug”…. We have not assimilated the idea that she is asleep and resting in the municipal pantheon. We hold in our hearts an exemplary Woman, a great fighter for life, who always saw that we had food at home. For us it is very difficult to think that she is not here, I weep for her absence every night, I run to the phone when it rings and want it to be her. Now when we arrive home, we feel a deep, deep emptiness. She left us only her joyfulness, and we are trying to put it into practice so as to be able to move forward. I hope this does not happen to anyone else, as it is a horrible thing….They took our Mother from us.

    Why did they take her from us? That man knew she was all we had, we never had our Father, she always wanted the best for her children, and she died for us….May God forgive Jose Rubi-Nava…

    Posted by profacero | October 21, 2006, 4:12 am
  21. p.s. yes – ‘pantheon’ is mausoleum.

    Posted by profacero | October 21, 2006, 4:22 am
  22. A la familia de Luz Maria Franco Fierros:

    LLoramos con ustedes. Den de saber que muchos de nosotros compartimos su dolor. Yo se que no es mucho, pero las velas de me casa, las aprendi para honorar su memoria.

    To the family of Luz Maria Franco Fierros:

    We cry with you. Please know that many of us share your pain. I know it isn’t much, but I’ve lit the candles in my house in honor of her memory.

    Posted by Melissa | October 21, 2006, 5:53 am
  23. A Heart y a la familia de Luz Maria Franco Fierros, ahora (gracias a SaltyC y Melissa) entiendo lo que habia pedido Heart: que tradujeramos su mensaje a ustedes, ya que ella no habla castellano.

    Ya tradujo SaltyC el mensaje, entonces no hare mas que agregar mi mas sentido pesame. Su madre fue una persona realmente admirable y como dice Heart, hubiera sido un honor conocerla.

    Si algo puedo hacer, se me puede contactar en

    Posted by profacero | October 21, 2006, 4:50 pm
  24. Hola! Gracias por los comentarios aqui escritos, yo se que si todos ustedes conocieran mi mamà se darian cuenta de muchas cosas que ella siempre hizo por nosotros. No se como voy a superar esta situacion cada dia que pasa me siento muy sola aun que se que ella esta conmigo cuidandome.No se como describir esta soledad, este vacio tan hondo…
    Perdi mi trabajo a consecuencia de los dias que estuvimos en espera de ella, mi mente la tengo solo pensando en la muerte que ella tuvo…
    Mi correo electronico

    Posted by Blanca Anel Leyva Franco | October 21, 2006, 11:59 pm
  25. De luto por una madre
    En su ciudad natal al sur de México, una trabajadora de Denver que fue arrastrada hasta morir, es recordada como una madre cariñosa atenta, una activista comunitaria y una amiga preocupada que abrió su corazón para ayudar a los demás.

    Una casa pequeña hecha con paredes de adobe y con pisos de concreto, se transforma cada noche en un sitio de luto por una mujer que fue arrastrada hasta su muerte, “al otro lado.”

    Más de 40 vecinos, amigos y familiares se sientan en sillas plásticas o plegables, bajo un techo de láminas de metal que suena como una cascada metálica cuando llueve. Como lo han hecho cada noche, por los últimos 11 días, el grupo recita el rosario y canta oraciones en memoria de Luz María Franco Fierros.

    “Madre mía, tu estas en el cielo,” cantan ellos.

    Franco Fierros dejó esta ciudad del sur de México hace más de un año con el fin de traer el sueño americano a su familia. Ella ganaría el suficiente dinero para construir una casa mejor en Chilpancingo y abrir su propia pozolería una tienda que sirve sopa mexicana hecha ha base de puerco.

    Ella no les dijo nada a sus cuatro hijos, el último de los cuales tiene 17 años, en cuanto a que iba irse. Pero se aseguró que el pueblo que ella tanto quería mantenga a salvo a su familia, mientras ella estuviese fuera.

    “Les dejo mis a hijos,” dijo ella a Lydia Rodríguez Chino, en mayo del 2005, a una de sus muchas amigas. “Mire por ellos, y si necesita póngalos en raya. No me importará.”

    Una activista comunitaria

    Ella estuvo al frente de la lucha por el agua, electricidad y calles pavimentadas para su vecindario y persuadió a los vecinos para la construcción de una capilla.

    Franco Fierros fue una celebridad en Chilpancingo, una pueblo de aproximadamente 150,000 habitantes, localizado a lo largo de la carretera principal que une a la ciudad de México con Acapulco. Ella fue elegida presidenta de su vecindario en los 1990 y dirigió la lucha por el agua, electricidad y calles pavimentadas. Ella fue la cabecilla en los esfuerzos por recoger fondos para construir una pequeña capilla.

    “Ella era muy trabajadora y hacía que la gente quiera ayudarle,” dijo su vecina María de Jesús Chávez. “Ella nos unió a todos para trabajar juntos también en la construcción de la capilla.”

    Franco Fierro dijo a sus amigos que estaría de regreso en México para la navidad. En vez de eso, ella regresa hoy en un ataúd, dos semanas después de su muerte.

    Los amigos y la familiares tratan de entender cómo pudo haberle sucedido esto a una de las suyas un lazo alrededor del cuello, halada detrás de un camioneta por más de una milla en una calle pavimentada al norte del condado de Douglas.

    Después de su entierro del día martes, la oraciones nocturnas se reanudarán, de acuerdo con la tradición católica.

    La sanidad interior, sin embargo, tomará mucho más tiempo.

    “Ahora estamos esperando por ella,” dijo Blanca Leyva Franco de 27 años, una de las hijas de Fierro. “No sé cuantos días pasarán hasta que podamos volver a vivir nuestras vidas nuevamente de manera normal, pero nunca volverá a ser como antes.”

    De cerca aun cuando lejos

    Aun cuando ella no dijo a su familia que se iba para los Estados Unidos, a lo lejos ella se mantuvo en contacto telefónico, diariamente si es que los hijos lo necesitaban.

    Franco Fierros de 49 años, arribó a Denver en mayo del 2005. Ella llamaba a sus hijos seguido, algunas veces sólo para saludarles y para decirles cuando se iba a trabajar. Ella les preguntaba acerca de sus problemas, sus rutinas y sus amigos.

    Ella llamó todos los días cuando su hija Esmeralda Leyva Franco de 25 años, perdió a su bebé prematuramente.

    “Aun cuando ella estaba lejos, nosotros podíamos sentir su amor y aliento,” dijo Blanca.

    Franco Fierros llamó a su casa por última vez el 17 de septiembre y conversó con su hijo de 17 años, Diego Dionisio Franco. Cuatro días más tarde, un amigo les llamó desde Denver diciéndoles que Franco Fierros no se había reportado a trabajar.

    En pocas horas, los hijos recibieron noticia de que su madre estaba muerta, pero nadie de Denver tenía el coraje de decirles a los hijos como había muerto.

    El café Internet localizado en la esquina de El Amate, la colonia donde ellos viven, les proveyó de todos los detalles. Al día siguiente el cónsul general de México en Denver, llamó para confirmar la muerte de su madre.

    Aun cuando ellos saben que fue su madre la que encontró su suerte fatal en ese camino del condado de Douglas, ellos no pueden sino desear un desenlace diferente.

    “Aun ahora estamos esperando y con la esperanza de que haya sido un error,” dijo la hija mayor de Franco, Natividad López Franco de 31 años.

    Los dolientes se reúnen

    Un altar improvisado en la casa que está rodeada de flores, velas y fotos de Franco Fierros. Sus hijos se preocupan de los visitantes.

    Las visitas llegan sin parar a la pequeña casa de Franco Fierros ubicada en la calle Tabachines, que corre a lo largo de una carretera principal de El Amate.

    Las visitas van desde el presidente de la municipalidad hasta los vendedores a los cuales Franco Fierros les compraba mercancía, hasta amigos que viven en la ciudad de México.

    “Si usted le hubiese conocido, usted la hubiese seguido ella era una mujer excelente,” dijo Guadalupe García, una amiga de la ciudad de México que se está quedando con los hijos hasta el rosario final. “Ella tenía solidaridad por las personas cuando estas pasaban por tiempos difíciles. Ella estuvo allí conmigo cuando se enteró de que mi esposo había muerto. Ella abría su corazón y se lo daba a los demás.”

    En la casa, los hijos de Franco Fierros, se apresuran para asegurarse que todos tengan un sitio donde sentarse, así como de servirles té y pan dulce.

    “Ella nos enseñó a seguir adelante, a siempre buscar lo mejor y a abrir nuestras casas y nuestros corazones a las personas, dijo Blanca.

    Muchos de manera sombría entran calladamente por la puerta de enfrente para el rosario nocturno y para visitar el altar improvisado -donde sus rosas favoritas, otras flores y velas destellantes, rodean las fotos de Franco Fierros con un rostro sonriente. Un pedazo de pan dulce y un vaso de agua, son colocados en el altar esperando el regreso de su espíritu.

    “Ella nos dijo que cuando muera quiere que toquemos música y que no estemos tristes,” agregó Natividad.

    El hogar le llevo al otro lado de la frontera

    Ella pagó a alguien para que le ayude a cruzar la frontera hacia los Estados Unidos, donde ella planeaba trabajar por un año y medio en el fin de conseguir dinero para terminar su casa.

    Mucho del deseo de Franco Fierro para venir a América giraba alrededor de su casa que ahora permanece sin terminar. La cocina y las gradas de concreto están descubiertas y abiertas a la intemperie, mientras que el área de la vivienda está protegida por un techo metálico crudamente construido.

    Franco Fierros planeaba comprar tejas para el techo y ella quería cambiar las paredes de adobe con madera y concreto. Ella esperaba utilizar parte de la sala para establecer su tienda de sopas.

    Lo hijos ya han empezado a guardar dinero para pagar la deuda con el fin de poder quedarse con la casa que tanto amaba su madre y el sueño que la empujó a perseguir un mejor futuro.

    Sin embargo, es difícil para muchos entender el porqué se fue. Después de todo, dicen los amigos, ella era dueña del lote de terreno y podía pagar las cuentas mes a mes vendiendo vegetales, baratijas y pozole.

    “Cuando supe que ella se había ido, me preocupe por ella,” dijo Clemente Hernández Sánchez, un vendedor del mercado; quien le vendía a Franco Fierros el puerco para su pozole. “Ella trabajaba muy duro aquí, y yo no creí que ella necesitaba irse. Ella siempre trabajó.”

    Si, ella ganaba lo suficiente para el diario, pero nunca lo suficiente para hacerse de una vida mejor, dijo Natividad. Y las deudas seguían creciendo. Franco Fierros había hecho un préstamo durante los tiempos más difíciles, para poder pagar la casa y las cuentas de los servicios públicos.

    “Esa es la razón por la que se fue (a América) para trabajar, para no perder su pedacito de tierra,” dijo María Elena Saltos Rodríguez. “Sería muy doloroso que después de todo el dolor y sacrificio pierda la casa.”

    Así que Franco Fierros se fue para América, aun cuando ella no escogió Denver. Fue el lugar de destino de aquellos a los cuales pago para que le ayuden a cruzar la frontera.

    Después de poco tiempo ella empezó a enviar fotos a sus hijos, de la nieve cayendo, de su primera fiesta de cumpleaños en América y de sus amigos en Taco Bell, donde ella trabajaba.

    Ella también envió fotos de su nuevo novio, José Luis Rubí-Nava. Los hijos dicen que no saben mucho acerca de Rubí-Nava, el hombre acusado de la horrenda muerte de su madre.

    Blanca hablo con él sólo una vez.

    “Todo lo que supe es que vivían juntos y que él la cuidaba,” dijo Blanca. “Ella parecía estar feliz y bien; aun cuando nos dijo que ellos a veces tenían discusiones, a nosotros esto nos preocupo.”

    Los hijos dijeron que la pareja probablemente se conoció en un salón de baile o en una fiesta. Ellos dijeron que su madre parecía estar alegre y ocupada.

    “Nosotros pensamos que eran como cualquier pareja normal,” indicó Natividad.

    Ecos del futuro

    Sus hijos esperan que todo sea una error y que su madre está todavía viva. Ellos también han pensado cruzar la frontera en busca de trabajos más lucrativos.

    Los recuerdos de Franco Fierros están alrededor de toda la casa el Jesús en la pared, las figuritas de cristal, el lobo de peluche que le envió a Diego, la pantera rosa que le compró para Blanca.

    “Cuando suena el teléfono, todavía pienso que puede ser ella,” dice Diego quien tiene los ojos verdes de su madre.”

    Blanca visita el café Internet por lo menos dos veces al día para buscar nuevos reportes acerca de la muerte de su madre y del caso en contra de Rubi-Nava de 36 años. Ella imprime los artículos y baja segmentos de la televisión acerca del caso.

    Cuando ve escenas aéreas de la escena del crimen, ella siempre llora.

    “Yo me empiezo a imaginar lo que le sucedió y lo duro que ella trabajó para que nosotros podamos salir adelante,” dijo Blanca. “Yo me imagino ese mismo momento, lo que él estaba pensando y lo que ella estaba pensando, yo se que ella pensaba en sus hijos.”

    La muerte de su madre, no a disuadido a Natividad o Blanca para que consideren un viaje a los Estados Unidos para encontrar un mejor trabajo. A Natividad le gustaría comprar una casa para sus cuatro hijas. Es la única manera, dijo ella, de poder ganar $ 10,000 a $ 20,000 para comprar un pedazo de tierra en el vecindario de Chilpancingo.

    Para Blanca más bien sería una manera de reconectarse de alguna manera con su madre.

    Y de ser posible, tratar de entender los últimos días de vida de su madre, aun sus escalofriantes últimos momentos.

    “Yo quiero ver donde sucedió y poder poner flores allí, para mi mamá,” dijo Blanca. “Quiero visitar donde vivió, donde trabajó. Quiero estar donde ella estuvo.”

    La escritora Elizabeth Aguilera puede ser contactada al 303-954-1372 o al


    El siguiente paso
    El cuerpo de Luz María Franco Fierros, la mujer que fue arrastrada hasta su muerte, debía llegar a la ciudad de México el domingo en la noche. Ella debe ser enterrada en su ciudad natal el martes por la mañana.

    Como ayudar
    Se pueden hacer donaciones para la familia al Wells Fargo Bank a la cuenta a nombre de Luz María Franco Fierros. La casa funeraria que manejó sus restos mortales, la Funeraria Latina, ha pagado por adelantado el dinero para devolver el cuerpo a su tierra natal. La mortuoria será reembolsada por los gastos, aun cuando no se sabe claramente quien los pagará.

    Ayuda del gobierno
    El gobierno mexicano ha ofrecido pagar todos los gastos de la repatriación de los restos mortales de Franco Fierros a su tierra natal de Chilpancingo, en el estado mexicano de Guerrero. Pero Franco Fierros también califica para el fondo de indemnización de víctimas a través del Distrito Judicial N.18. La coordinadora del fondo de indemnización de víctimas del distrito, Wendy Buker dijo que ella está consciente de que se ha hecho una aplicación a nombre de Franco Fierros, pero que el caso todavía no ha sido considerado.

    Este articulo me gusto mucho, es de mis amigas del DENVER POST…
    Los hijos de Luz Maria Franco Fierros, desde la izquierda, Blanca Leyva Franco, de 27 años; Diego Dionisio Franco, de 17 años; Natividad López Franco, de 31 años y Esmeralda Leyva Franco, de 25 años, se juntan en la puerta del frente de su casa. Franco Fierros había cruzado la frontera para ganar mas dinero en los Estados Unidos, con el fin de usarlo para terminar su casa. (Post / Lyn Alweis)

    Posted by Blanca Anel Leyva Franco | October 22, 2006, 12:15 am
  26. Dang. I wish I could speak/read Spanish! Just want to thank you for your posts, Blanca Anel Leyva Franco, and thanks to you, salty and Professor Zero for translating.


    Posted by womensspace | October 22, 2006, 2:28 pm
  27. Hey – Donna sent me – the second post, the really long one, has information on how to help, etc. I don’t have time to type it all out at this very moment, but I’ll translate it in the next couple of days or so. The first, shorter one says:

    “Hi! Thank you for the comments written here, I know that if you all had met my mother, you would have understood [even better] the many things she always did for us. I do not know how I am going to overcome this situation. Every day that passes I feel [more] alone, although I know that [in the spirit] she is here with me, taking care of me. I do not know how to describe this solitude, this emptiness which is so deep…

    I lost my job as a consequence of the days [away from work, presumably]
    in which we were waiting for her [body], and my mind only thinks of the [horrible] death she had.

    My e-mail address is”

    Posted by profacero | October 22, 2006, 10:06 pm
  28. P.S. The longer post reproduces a Spanish translation of an article in the Denver Post, an article the family much appreciated. They are perhaps eligible for victim indemnization in her name, and an application has been made, but the case has not yet been considered.

    Posted by profacero | October 23, 2006, 12:15 am
  29. Here is the original Denver Post article, in English:

    Mourning a Mother by staff writer Elizabeth Aguilera, who apparently went in person to see the family. There is a picture of the four children at the end of the article, in the doorway of their house.

    Posted by Professor Zero | October 23, 2006, 1:16 am
  30. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. According to the article, anyone wanting to help the family can go to any Wells Fargo Bank and make a donation in the name of Luz Maria Franco Fierros.


    Posted by womensspace | October 23, 2006, 2:20 am
  31. Hello, thanks thousand thanks for the words and the interez that have put to him to this case. Since one has seen several of you, we are of limited resources and until we have not been able now to replace as much mental as economically. I comment that I have left without work and am the hour in which I cannot find, I want to begin to sell Imitation jewellery in silver and in case she needs to me about 350 dls. to be able to maintain to us at least to begin and while encounter work of secretary or administrative assistant, if somebody wanted to help my electronic mail is:
    Also so that they do not have distrust my tel of the house in Chilpancingo is 01 747 47 13878 Thanks that God grants to Peace and Joy to them in its Home.

    Sincerely Blanca Anel Leyva Franco

    Posted by Blanca Anel Leyva Franco | October 23, 2006, 5:08 pm
  32. Blanca, my very best to you and to your family. I will be donating to the fund set up for you at Wells Fargo, and I hope many others will as well. I also hope the victims’ compensation fund comes through for all of you. And I think you need a microloan! It would be perfect for what you are describing, and I’m going to poke around, see what I can find.

    I would urge everyone to read the Denver Post article that Professor Zero posted about Blanca and her family. The house her mom wanted so much to fix had a kitchen which was open to the elements, a tin roof over the main living area. She wanted to save enough money to buy shingles and wood. She was an amazing woman, a community leader and activist in her own right.

    Blanca, again, my best to all of you.


    Posted by womensspace | October 23, 2006, 7:12 pm
  33. my heart and very best wishes go out to blanca and her family as well. i will also be making a donation to wells fargo and think the microloan is a great idea. i don’t know how one gets assitance through them, but i donate to kiva and they’re a great organization.

    xoxo, jared

    Posted by ms. jared | October 23, 2006, 11:17 pm
  34. Hello thanks for their words, really affect to me that still there are so pretty people and of good heart like you. Gracias corazòn gustaria you conosco but not to know it to me… We want to begin to even implement the small business of silver imitation jewellery that is with little money the unique thing which we want in coming out ahead. And if it is right the part of outside of house this collapsing so that it is of marinates, the kitchen this open one and when rains we got wet like much puts to us the water. I hope that but people want to help… Thanks us! *** AN OBSERVATION *** THE PHOTO OF ABOVE WHERE THIS JOSE RUBI-NAVA, THE WOMAN WHO THIS IS NOT MY MAMÀ THERE I HAVE UNDERSTOOD THAT IT IS A PHOTO OF THE WIFE DE JOSE RUBI-NAVA THAT LIVES IN MEXICO, MY MAMÀ IS MAS HERMOSA. Sincerely Blanca Anel Leyva Franco

    Posted by Blanca Anel Leyva Franco | October 23, 2006, 11:21 pm
  35. It seems like that no matter how much progress we make, hate drags us back. This crime goes beyond race, it falls on gender. I want to extend my deepest sympathies and respect to her children.

    Posted by Sabrina | January 5, 2007, 4:56 pm
  36. This is just unbelievably sad. My heart goes out to family, I wonder how they’re doing now?

    You know, right around the time this horrific vileness occured, there were several others – almost equally bad. Interesting pattern, that.

    Posted by Johanna | April 25, 2007, 6:53 am
  37. My beutiful sisters,
    To read such a senseless crime tears my heart from my soul. I, too, am a single mother of 3 small ones. I know the exhaustion of working endlessless, yet with joy to see the smiles on the faces of your children. Luz may have been a women of small stature physically but in my mind she is a woman of great stature in spirit. What has been missed by those of you who do not speak Castilliam (Spanish) is that her name, “Luz” means “Light”. In the Mexican culture a person’s “light” is their essence, that which shines from their soul. They sing about it their love songs..La luz de tu mirada (the light of your glance/look) they use it to describe a loved one, as Americans would use the terms “dear or honey” they would call a sweetheart or spouse..”mi luz”.
    Perhaps, in all the senselessness of this dear, sweet woman’s death she is still “La Luz”, a beacon crying out for an end to such violence. That the angels will guard the family of this beloved woman.

    Mis queridas hermanas,
    Para leer de un crimen asi que falta toda razon me arranca la corazon de la alma.
    Se’ bien del agotamiento lo cual acompan}a ser muy trabajadora para solo la alegria que viene de ver las sonrisas tras las caras de sus hijos. Tal vez, estaba Luz una chaparita en estatura fisico pero del espiritu’ se quedaba y SE QUEDARA’ siempre una mujer del gran estatura espiritualmente.
    Su nombre, “Luz”, significa la cual viene desde adentro y brilla para ver todos. Se cantanla en las canciones de la cultura Mexicana y se usan para describirse uno carin}oso y querido. Quizas en todo perdido, en este gran hoyo sin para, en esto que falta toda la razon’ ell siguera ser “Nuestra Luz”, un sen}al de despertarnos y un fin de la violencia asi’. Que los angeles se los guarden a la familia de esta querida mujer.
    Karena de NJ (corazon del Zacatepec/Oaxaca)

    Posted by Karena | May 3, 2008, 11:52 am
  38. This was just shocking. Also shocking was your story Sparklemix! And you are not “dumping” you are telling your truth! Always know that!!

    Women have got to get over their addiction to men. The greatest danger is living with men period. I really see no end to this, unless women create their own lands, and create their own laws. Men like this should never be allowed to live in my opinion.

    We fool ourselves by thinking we are not dealing with primitive and dreadful enemies who have no control over their emotions. Women are accused of being over emotional, but these men who kill their “girlfriends” in this way are monsterous and out of control emotionally. It is men who can’t control their emotions!

    What will it take for women to refuse to deal with all men in home settings? I don’t believe these crimes will ever end, because men are the enemy in the world. They are the monsters, and nothing we can do can change this.

    I hope men reading this will just get the hell out of town. I’d like to spend one day in a large city and have no men at all on the streets, in the stores or anywhere! Just to have freedom from the oppressors for one day would be a miracle.

    Why does it take battery, near death at the hand of “boyfriends’ and “husbands” for women to become radical feminists? So many women who write on this site come from backgrounds where male violence was right in their homes, and where they had to suffer so much just to have a job, pay a mortgage or rent, and take care of their kids.

    Women try as hard as they can, but until women are fully prepared to have a life free of men, this scenario will continue till the end of time.

    Something radical in women really needs to change.

    I get so frustrated reading these things, because I believe the utter banishment of men from women’s homes is the answer.

    I believe laws should be changed so that women are allowed to kill their attackers, and not have this come back on them.

    The blood won’t leave that freeway, because this woman’s spirit is still speaking to the women of the world. It is a testiment and a warning. You will not prevail if you live with the violent monsters of the world, and we have to create an economic system where women really have a choice never to live with men, and still flourish on their own.

    Are women in denial? Why does it take battery and attrocity stories for women to get radical feminism? Why is this?

    Posted by Satsuma | May 3, 2008, 8:06 pm
  39. Si a cualquier persona le destroza el corazón ahora vivimos en un tiempo de tenerle miedo a cualquier persona yo no he podido superar lo que le paso a mi mamá LUZ MARIA FRANCO, la verdad aun no he podido olvidar muerte tan horrible que le origino ese moustro de hombre. Todos los dias sueño a mi mamá que llega de USA y sin esperar nos espande los brazos para darnos muchos besos y decirnos ” Ya llegue hijos no estoy muerta” Yo se que es signo de que ella no se ha ido que siempre nos cuida y proteje.

    Posted by Blanca Anel | August 12, 2008, 8:05 pm
  40. Ayer esperaba que me llamara por telefono , fue mi cumpleaños numero 29, sola con mis hermanos la recordamos en cada unos de nuestro cumpleaños. Espero que las autoridades hagan su trabajo y se haga justicia para que pueda quedar ejemplo a los demas.

    Posted by Blanca Anel | August 12, 2008, 8:07 pm


  1. Pingback: “She limped toward the door with her arms held out, saying, ‘Help me.’” « unconventional beauty - September 11, 2007

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