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A Baja California court has ruled that there is insuffience evidence against Fernando Emmanuel Valencia
Pérez in the 2005 death of 15-year-old Benazir Sara Chavolla Ruiz and ordered him released without prejudice. Valencia, 29, had been detained in San Diego in August and sent to Mexico, where he had been held in prison in Tijuana.
Chavolla Ruiz had been on her way home on Dec. 7, 2005, when she was apparently abducted, bound, possibly sexually molested, and thrown from a vehicle; she then was struck by another vehicle. She died of her injuries Dec. 13. Valencia was an early suspect in the case; Chavolla Ruiz's family has claimed he was not prosecuted then as a result of possible favoritism in the criminal justice system, where his uncle was a judge.
Thursday's ruling came from three Fourth Criminal Court judges. An El Mexicano story said an investigation against Valencia still can continue.
El Mexicano newspaper editorialized on Friday that this was an "inconceivable decision" that unfortunately confirmed the Chavolla Ruiz family's fears that justice would not be served in the death of their daughter.
Front-page stories, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
An editorial in El Mexicano newspaper on Friday lamented the irregularities in the case involving the 2005 killing of 15-year-old Benazir Sara Chavolla Ruiz, placing blame on the inaction by the state attorney general's office under Gov. Eugenio Elorduy of the National Action Party. A suspect in the case, Fernando Emmanuel Valencia Pérez, was recently detained in San Diego.
The paper published a front-page story on Thursday outlining some of the irregularities, which involve allegations of favoritism involving Valencia Pérez's relatives and the state government. The official in charge of the state's homicide department at the time was Francisco Castro Trenti, currently police chief of Rosarito. His brother, Fernando, last month lost the election to become governor running on the ticket of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
The girl was on her way home when she was apparently abducted, bound, and then thrown from a vehicle. She was hit by another vehicle and later died.
The case as outlined by Sara's parents, "The Dark Case of the Baja California Attorney General's Office" (PDF).
Update. Ag. 25: Judge formally orders pretrial detention of suspect. Story, pictures, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Aug. 26: Cicuta (Hemlock) column on the matter (PDF).
Update, October: Woman linked to Benazir Sara case named judge on 9-8 vote.