MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – The first time that Júlio César Hernández Ballinas hit his wife, Mariana Lima Buendía, was just three weeks after they got married. The reason: he didn’t like how she had prepared the meat and orange juice.
Lima Buendía called her parents and asked them to come get her, says her mother, Irinea Buendía, 60. The mother says that she and her husband, Lauro Lima, 82, rushed immediately to their daughter’s aid.
“‘He told me that if I report it, with that bat that is there he is going to give me nothing but one to the head and he is going to put me in the cistern because he had already put two or three women there,’” Buendía recalls her daughter told her when they arrived.
After that, the abuse didn’t stop. Neither did the support of her parents, who asked their daughter to abandon her aggressor. Buendía says that she and her husband were afraid that one day, their son-in-law would keep his word and murder their daughter.
“I don’t know if he had her threatened,” the mother says. “I don’t know how my daughter managed to go back with him because she left him four times and always for the same reason: because he hit her, because she was nothing to him, that she didn’t know how to do wash, she didn’t know how to iron, she didn’t know how to make anything to eat, she didn’t know how to sweep.”
One day, Lima Buendía got tired of the beatings, her mother says. She left she and her husband's home outside of Mexico City and went to live with her parents in the neighboring municipality. Buendía says her daughter told her she had had enough and was ready to leave her husband.
Her parents expressed support and made plans for the following day to buy new clothes and to contact a lawyer in order to find a job for their daughter, who had studied law.
The 29-year-old left her parents’ house at noon in order to file a complaint of violence against her husband. Buendía says her daughter, who worked in the local Public Ministry’s Center of Justice, didn’t think that the ministry would do anything. She also hadn’t reported her husband sooner because he worked for the center’s judicial police. But she finally decided that she wanted to make a record of the violence.
Later, she returned to her home to talk with her husband and to collect her belongings. She promised her parents that she would be back by dinnertime.
“That was the last time I saw her alive,” her mother says sadly.
Their daughter’s husband called her parents the next day to tell them that their daughter had committed suicide, a story Buendía and her husband say they never believed. Instead, Buendía alleges that he killed their daughter – not only because of his previous acts of violence against her but also because of several errors and inconsistencies in the investigation of the case.