Elisabeth Mandala: A Death In Mexico Joins The List Of Tourist Trouble In Foreign Lands
When Elisabeth Mandala, a high school student from Sugar Land, was murdered in Mexico in May, it made national news.
The stories, however, didn't just focus on the death of an American teenager in Mexico, but more about Elisabeth's secret life outside the suburbs. News agencies referred to her as the "teen stripper" or "student turned stripper," and Internet commenters of those stories called her much worse.
At one point, when the news vans and reporters got so thick in front of the small horse ranch where Elisabeth lived, her mother closed the gate to the property and stopped letting people in.
But things are much quieter for the Mandalas now. It's been almost three months since Elisabeth was killed, and the family is starting to realize that authorities here and in Mexico aren't pursuing Elisabeth's case.
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Her father, Robert Mandala, told the Houston Press, "I doubt we'll ever know what happened to her."
Check out "Over the Line" for the rest of Elisabeth's story. And here are three other cases of Americans finding trouble outside the U.S.
1. Daniela Lopez. In September of last year, Lopez, a 26-year-old college student from California, was found dead in a park in a small town in Ecuador. Lopez had traveled to the country to visit family and do volunteer work for the summer, according to an article in the Beverly Hills Courier. The paper reported that Lopez had been "raped, tortured and murdered."
Lopez's mother, Gloria, told the Courier that her daughter complained, shortly before her death, that a man was stalking her, angry that Lopez wouldn't date him. Gloria took that information to U.S. authorities and Ecuadorian police, but no one seemed to be investigating the case.
2. Amanda Knox. In 2009, the college student from Seattle was sentenced to 26 years in an Italian prison after being convicted of conspiring with her boyfriend to kill her roommate in Perguia, Italy.
Knox maintains her innocence, and a man already in prison has said that his mobster brother is responsible for the murder.
3. Natalee Holloway. Holloway's case has been one of the most publicized stories of the last decade.
In 2005, Holloway, a teenager from Alabama, disappeared during a vacation to Aruba, and the search for her became an international effort. A group of volunteers from Texas, for example, traveled to Aruba to help police there.
The media coverage of Holloway's disappearance was criticized by people who thought Holloway became important only because she was a young, attractive white girl.
Arianna Huffington urged her readers to boycott the coverage, which she said was dominated by reporters "filling up airtime with a feature on the party scene in Aruba."
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