Eugenie Roy Martinez was 21 years old and was studying biology at the Instituto Tecnológico del Valle de Oaxaca (Technological Institute of the Valley of Oaxaca.) The activist also spent his time working for the protection of reptiles and amphibians.
According to his family, Eugui was shot dead on the family’s ranch, La Magnolia, in San Agustín Loxicha. Rosalinda Martínez, his sister, explained: “My brother decided to spend the quarantine at the ranch, collecting insects, studying, writing for a magazine, looking after a few deer, besides creating content for his blog; nevertheless, on the morning of 7 May, 2020, the neighbours found him on the ground, covered in blood, dead.” She added that she hopes the crime doesn’t go unpunished.
It appears that a group of armed men broke into the ranch and took him away. His body was found later showing signs of torture.
Human rights organisations have accused local “caciques” in San Agustín Loxicha of the killing. The Sierra de Oaxaca is what is known as a hot zone because of the struggle among armed groups for control of illegal logging and hunting.
Although Ergui was not linked to any specific organisation his environmental activities may have been seen as a threat by these criminal gangs.
In its 2019 report, CEDMA, the Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, (Mexican Centre for Environmental Rights) documented 499 attacks on defenders of land, environmental and territorial rights in Mexico. The state of Oaxaca accounted for the largest number of these cases with 80 attacks in that period.