Murdered UBC student Ximena Osegueda Magana was a 'beautiful shining soul', says capoeira friend
Osegueda's other vehicle, a red Chevrolet, was found with its license plates removed on December 17 near Oaxaca's airport, weeks before her and Santamaria's bodies were discovered on Punta Arena beach hours away, according to Oaxaca's state attorney's office, the Procuraduria General de Justica del Estado.
The 39-year old was reportedly en route to a yoga class when she disappeared.
“To the whole university community it's a terrible shock, and it's perceived as a terrible tragedy,” Lucie McNeill, UBC's public affairs director, told the Vancouver Observer. “News of a death like this doesn't only affect her immediate faculty -- but would obviously reverberate across campus.”
Although McNeill said she is awaiting instructions from Osegueda's family before speaking more about the UBC graduate student, she added that the university will offer grieving students and staff with counselling, and will support anyone who wishes to organize a memorial in Osegueda's honour.
Osegueda started her graduate program in Hispanic Studies in 2009, McNeill added, in the school's department of French, Hispanic and Italian studies.
According to her own academic blog and her UBC program website, Osegueda was researching the origins of local mythology and the effects of Spanish colonization on Indigenous traditions. She was fascinated by how understandings of “otherness” were preserved in legend following European conquest.
“I am currently investigating the foundational myth of Huatulco, a municipality located on the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico,” she wrote on the UBC Hispanic studies website. “I am looking at how this myth has morphed from its first publication, in the 17th century, until today.
“... Pilgrims from around the region come to pay homage to Hautulco’s sacred cross, allegedly brought by the apostle St. Thomas, known in Mexico as the god-king Quetzalcoatl.”
A Facebook page in her memory started yesterday, with many friends writing their condolences. A memorial service will be held Saturday in Mexico City – where the UBC student grew up – in the city's San Rafael neighbourhood.
On Tuesday, Salt Spring Island resident Robin Wood, 67, was killed after confronting robbers at a friends house in the town of Melaque, near Puerto Vallarta in another region of Mexico. Mexican authorities told media the country remains a safe tourist destination in spite of violence.
In December, Mexican authorities captured a leader of one of the country's most notorious and violent drug cartels. Ramiro Rendon Rivera, the Sinaloa Cartel's weapons chief, was arrested in late December.
According to the government of Canada, travellers to Mexico should "exercise caution" but that the country is still safe for tourists.
"Canadians travelling to Mexico should exercise a high degree of caution due to a deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country," Canada's travel advisory site suggests. "... Most major tourist areas have not been affected by the extreme levels of violence in the northern border region."