The Murder of Ariadna Lopez Raises Awareness of Femicides in Mexico


Man believed to be Rautel Astudillo carrying Ariadna’s Lifeless body the Night She Went Missing

Carley Brown, Staff Writer

Mexican authorities are being accused of tampering with Ariadna Lopez’s’ autopsy with intentions of covering up her murder.

According to the authorities of Mexico, Lopez was last seen on Oct. 30 2022 visiting a restaurant with a group of friends in the State of Morelos, which included a couple, businessman Rautel and his girlfriend Vanessa. After spending about an hour at the restaurant, the group of friends left for Vanessa’s apartment. Half an hour later, the rest of the friends leave the house… leaving the couple and Ariadna inside. After her friends hadn’t heard from her for a few days she was declared missing.

On Nov. 1, 2022, two cyclists discovered the body of a lifeless woman under a bridge near the highway. It was later revealed to be Ariadna Lopez, a 27-year-old single mother from Mexico City. One of the cyclists involved in the discovery of Lopez’s body took photos of her tattoos and posted them online hoping to identify her that way, and she was identified by her family a day later. An autopsy was performed and Morelos investigators were quick to announce that Ariadna’s cause of death was alcohol poisoning with no signs of brutality, but Ariadna’s family and friends didn’t buy it and reached out to authorities in Mexico City attorney general’s office and requested a second autopsy. Vanessa was requested to provide the surveillance footage from her building by a friend of Ariadna’s who was in charge of the previous search for her. Vanessa responded that the cameras could only see a portion of the sidewalk beyond the parking lot, but when she made the request to Rautel, she was in a panic. Rautel assured her that the security footage would be automatically deleted in one day, but he was wrong. At Lopez’s funeral on Nov 3, Rautel told the press that he had nothing to do with her death. But days later, Mexican authorities retrieved security footage of a man believed to be Rautel carrying Lopez’s unconscious body out of the building into an SUV the night she went missing. Rautel and Vanessa were immediately on the top of the suspect list for Mexican authorities. A second autopsy was quickly conducted in Mexico City and discovered that she died from multiple blows to her body with an unspecified object, disputing the previous findings of the Morelos authorities. Rautel Astudillo then turned himself in and authorities arrested his girlfriend Vanessa Flores for the alleged femicide of Ariadna Lopez. Although the prime suspects for this heinous crime had been arrested, there were still questions about who else was involved in Ariadna’s murder. The case took a radical turn when Mexico City Mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, said that Attorney General Uriel Carmona may have had a personal connection to Rautel. “In this case, it is evident that the Attorney General of the State of Morelos wanted to hide the femicide of Ariadna presumably for his links with the probable woman killer,” she said. Carmona denied having any relationship with Rautel, he said that he did not know of him at all until this case. During previous years, Carmona has been involved in several investigations. Distinguished Mexican newspaper El Universal reported that the FGR will open an investigation into the Morelos executives who possibly intervened in the case, including Carmona. Mexico regularly ranks as one of the most threatening countries for women. Women in Mexico face high levels of violence including sexual assault, harassment, and domestic violence. In many cases, the perpetrators of these crimes are not held accountable.  3,450 women were murdered in Mexico between Jan and Nov of 2022. The consequences of femicide are devastating for families and communities. Women are robbed of their lives, and their loved ones are left to grapple with the trauma and loss. Mexico has taken steps to address the issue of femicide, which includes passing laws that criminalize femicide and establishing special prosecutors to investigate cases of gender-based violence. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that women in Mexico are protected from violence and discrimination. While Lopez’s case attracted national media attention, many other daily cases of femicide do not.