At the moment the sun was at its highest, Lourdes Maldonado arrived at her final resting place.
The reporter, who had more than 40 years’ experience in national and local media, was found Sunday shot to death in her car on the driveway of her home in Tijuana. At about noon on Thursday, she was buried at the Monte de los Olivos cemetery in the South East area of the city.
Her slaying came six days after news photographer Margarito Martínez Esquivel was gunned down outside his home in the city.
Maldonado’s funeral service Wednesday night had been attended by Thomas E. Reott, U.S. Consul in Tijuana, dozens of members of media outlets from both sides of the border, and her relatives.
Maldonado’s death has shaken her coworkers at the social media channel “Sintoniza Sin Fronteras” (Tune In Without Borders), where Maldonado was producing three times a week a one-hour news show called “Brebaje” (Potion). On her last show, streamed Jan. 18, she talked of Martínez’s slaying.
Esau Benumea, a co-worker, said he last communicated with her Sunday morning to text “See you Monday.” They were getting ready for a new week and a show dedicated to her recent victory at the court, a labor lawsuit she pursued against Baja Calfornia’s former governor Jaime Bonilla, who is the owner of a media company.
She alleged she had been wrongly fired by Bonilla’s company and sued it for back wages. Days before her death, she received the judge’s order in her favor.
So far, there have been no arrests in connection with her murder. On Wednesday, Baja California Governor Marina del Pilar Ávila named a special prosecutor to investigate the journalist murders — Atalo Machado Yepez, who previously worked as a public prosecutor in Mexicali. Del Pilar also said she will work on a project to reclassify crimes against journalists with harsher penalties in Baja California.
Carlos Maldonado, Maldonado’s brother, spoke before her burial at the cemetery, where a smaller group of reporters and the Maldonado family gathered on Thursday.
“May God forgive the people who did this to my sister,” he said. “We have nothing against the people who killed my sister. May God take care of them.”
Another brother, Hugo Maldonado, said to his sister through the glass covering her casket: “Lubby, carnala, this is what you fought for all your life. You went viral, you are now in Europe, in the United States, all over the world. We hope this will mean something and change something in this corrupt world we have, in this corrupt Mexico and this corrupt Tijuana we have.”
Renee Maldonado, Maldonado’s niece, said that journalists were Lourdes’s second family since almost all of her relatives live in other towns.
“The press was her family, her friends, the journalists,” she said.
She also had a message for those colleagues: “Keep up the fight, we must fight for the right to express ourselves. And do not be afraid… There will always be justice, divine justice is the most beautiful one.”
Just after her coffin was lowered, two flocks of white doves were released and flew together in a clear, blue sky.