How world’s toughest mum hunted down 10 of her daughter’s cartel kidnappers until they were either dead or in prison

MIRIAM Rodríguez was just a parent with a very particular set of skills – and she would stop at nothing to take down the gang that killed her daughter.

Much like Liam Neeson’s character in the hit film Taken, the mum from Mexico used guns, fake IDs and even disguises to hunt down the men who snatched and murdered her child.


In 2012, Miriam's 20- year-old daughter Karen Alejandra Salinas Rodríguez vanished.

What followed was weeks of calls and threats, demanding ransom payments in exchange for Karen to be returned.

But these were just false promises, and her remains were found on an abandoned ranch in 2014.

For the following three years, Miriam dedicated her life to hunting down her daughter's killers, stalking them one by one across Mexico.

The brave mum did every thing in her power to trace them, from befriending unsuspecting relatives for tips on their whereabouts to tracking them online.

A one-woman detective squad, she took on different disguises including as an election official to get hold of names and addresses.

In one case, Miriam, who was 56 at the time, tracked one of her daughter's killers in Texas, where he was peddling flowers on the border.

Armed with a handgun, she chased him down a narrow street before grabbing him by the shirt and wrestling him against railing, the New York Times reports.

"If you move, I'll shoot you," Miriam said to the crook as she held a gun to his back, according to her family.

In total, Miriam was instrumental in the capture of 10 criminals, defying a system where organised crime often goes unchallenged.

Her tireless campaign mirrored the actions of Liam Neeson's character in 2008 film Taken, who tracks down his daughter after she is kidnapped by Albanian human traffickers while on holiday in France.

While imploring one of the gang members to release her daughter at the start of her campaign, Miriam heard someone call him by name – Sama – through the static of his radio.

She spent hours trawling through social media, until she finally found a picture tagged with the name Sama, who she recognised immediately. 

Beside him was a young woman wearing the uniform of an ice cream shop just two hours away in Ciudad Victoria.

Miriam spent weeks watching the shop until she spotted Sama and followed him home to mark his address, and even pretended to conduct a fake poll of the neighbourhood to get his details.

But by the time the a warrant had been issued for his arrest, Sama had left town.

It was by pure chance Sama was caught, when Miriam’s son, Luis, had a late customer in his own shop in Ciudad Victoria. 

He phoned both this police and his mother, and followed Sama until officers arrived and arrested him.

While in custody, he filled in missing details such as names and locations of accomplices.

But Miriam's pursuit of justice came at a price.

On May 10 2017, the day Mexicans celebrate Mother's Day, Miriam was shot 12 times by gunmen who broke into her home in San Fernando – just weeks after she had chased down one of her final targets.

She died on the way to hospital.

Before her death, Miriam had asked the government for armed guards, fearing the consequences of her actions after prisoners escaped jail in Ciudad Victoria.

Her son Luis took over a group she started to help other families find missing loved ones.



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