Fugitive Wanted for Killing Girlfriend Releases Video Claiming Death Was ‘Accidental’

Marlon Botas Fuentes claims that the death of Montserrat Bendimes Roldán was “an unfortunate accident and is nothing close to what is said on social networks or in the case file.”
Marlon-Botas Fuentes_accidental_killing_mexico
The Veracruz State attorney general’s office in Mexico issued a reward of roughly $12,500 USD, for the capture of Botas Fuentes on femicide charges. Photo: Mexican government.

MEXICO CITY—The final words that Montserrat Bendimes Roldán, 20, said from her bed in intensive care in April 2021 were to her mother. “It was Marlon,” she said. 

Montse, as she was known to friends and family, died days after arriving at the hospital with fractures in her skull, neck and arm in the Gulf Coast Mexican state of Veracruz. The man she named—Marlon Botas Fuentes—went on the lam.


The Veracruz State attorney general’s office issued a reward of 250,000 pesos, roughly $12,500 USD, for the capture of Botas Fuentes on femicide charges, and arrested his parents six months later for allegedly covering up the crime and facilitating his escape.

Botas Fuentes reappeared this week for the first time since his April 2021 disappearance in a video reportedly sent anonymously to prominent Mexican news network Imagen Televisión, asking to negotiate the release of his parents.

In the short video, Botas Fuentes addressed Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the state governor of Veracruz, Cuitláhuac García Jiménez, and asked them to promptly release his parents “for the love [the politicians] feel for justice.”

“I am the one who must be held accountable before the authority that requests me; the freedom of my parents will allow a fair trial in which it will be possible to explain what really happened.”

Botas Fuentes called Montse’s death “an unfortunate accident and is nothing close to what is said on social networks or in the case file.”

The reappearance of Botas Fuentes this week caused instant outrage around Mexico. Montse’s sister, Leslie Bendimes Roldán, tweeted “After seeing the video of Marlon Botas Fuentes, I asked myself; the marks on my sister's body, are they an accident?”


On April 17, 2021, Montse went to a baptism with her family. Afterward, she said she had to go home and change her clothes, but that she would return shortly to eat dinner with her relatives. Later, Montse’s parents received a phone call from Jorge Botas, Marlon’s father, telling them that Montse was injured and in the hospital. Montse accused Marlon Botas Fuentes of inflicting her wounds before going unconscious. She was declared brain dead and died six days later from her injuries. By that time, Marlon had disappeared without once visiting Montse in the hospital.

Arussi Unda, the spokesperson for the Veracruz based feminist collective Las Brujas del Mar, told VICE World News that Montse’s case “shook Veracruz society” and led to protests through the state — one of Mexico’s deadliest for women. Unda called the statements in his video “a lie” and said that she “couldn’t imagine what accident“ caused Montse’s grave injuries.

“And especially the actions of both him and his family after the offense, that was running away and not showing up to testify, not even going to the hospital,” said Unda. “It seems to me that the video was perhaps in desperation and trying to negotiate with the authorities.”

It doesn’t seem to have worked.


The Veracruz attorney general’s office quickly released a statement after the video was published saying that “we will not negotiate the attainment of justice.”

“The investigation work to locate him and present them to justice is still in progress. In this case, as in all those in which a woman is attacked, there will be no impunity,” the statement read.

Jorge Botas and Diana Fuentes were arrested in November roughly six months after Montse’s death for allegedly being involved in covering up the crime and helping Marlon escape. Unda said that she and the other activists in the case were relieved that the prosecutors appear to be unwilling to negotiate the release of his mother and father because “Marlon's parents have to face the part that they are responsible for. In the end, it was an active participation.”

Over the past year, Las Brujas Del Mar have been pushing for the “Montse Initiative,” a change to Veracruz penal code article 345 that effectively stops relatives from being punished when covering up a crime for a family member. Unda called the law “super ambiguous” and said “it was necessary to reform it to limit the resources or support networks that [fugitives] might have.”

Unda believes that by holding those accountable who protect fugitives, it will make it harder for them to remain free. She speculated that Marlon Botas Fuentes’ video and attempt to negotiate his surrender has to do with the fact that he lost the financial means to support his life in hiding after the arrest of his parents.

Las Brujas del Mar spent months in communication with lawmakers and intends to bring the formal Montse Initiative proposal to the Veracruz congress at the end of May. The group has also been in touch with other states around the country who have found similar articles in their penal codes and are working to potentially change them as well.

Meanwhile, Botas Fuentes remains on the lam, despite his claims that it is he, not his parents, who should be accountable to the law.

“It seems to me that it’s cowardice, mainly,” said Unda. “I believe that he does not have the guts to face the consequences of his acts.”