Mexico Cans Police Chief, 20, Who Fled

Marisol Valles Garcia was apparently seeking asylum after death threats
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 7, 2011 3:59 PM CST
Marisol Valles Garcia, 20-Year-Old Police Chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero, Fired for Apparently Fleeing
In this Oct. 20, 2010 file photo, 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia sits at her desk after her swearing-in ceremony as new police chief of the border town of Praxedis G. Guerrero, near Ciudad Juarez.   (Raymundo Ruiz)

A 20-year-old police chief in a violent Mexican border town was fired today for apparently abandoning her post after receiving death threats. Marisol Valles Garcia was granted a leave of absence from March 2-7 to travel to the United States, but "Since there was no notification of a need to extend the period of her absence, the mayor has decided to remove her from office," said city officials in a statement. Her whereabouts still aren't known.

Local media have since reported that Valles Garcia was seeking asylum in the United States after having received death threats. A Human Rights Commission official called the firing "a bit hasty," and said he would ask the mayor to retract the move: "Right now Marisol needs support, and one way to be supportive is to leave her in office. To fire her is to leave her completely alone." Valles Garcia was named police chief of Praxedis G. Guerrero in October. The town had been without a police chief since her predecessor was killed in July 2009. (More Marisol Valles Garcia stories.)

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