Once Hailed As Mexico's Bravest Woman, 21-Year-Old Loses Police Chief Job

After reports that she had left the country following death threats and was seeking asylum in the U.S., Marisol Valles was fired today, The Associated Press reports.

After she stepped forward last year to take a job no one else wanted because of the drug-related violence — police chief in the Mexican border town of Praxedis G. Guerrero — Marisol Valles was called the "bravest woman in Mexico."

Now, she's the ex-police chief. Valles, 21, was "fired Monday for apparently abandoning her post after receiving death threats," the Associated Press reports. [The AP says Valles is 20; we're relying on the PBS News Hour for her age.]

ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer reported Friday that Valles had left Mexico after receiving death threats and is seeking political asylum in the U.S.

Back in February on the News Hour, Valles conceded she feared for her life:

" 'I am afraid,' she says, 'like everyone here. And I take precautions, but hope is stronger than fear.'

"She has good reason to be afraid. Rival drug cartels kill each other and anyone who gets in their way. If they can't control a street, they burn it. Whole neighborhoods of Marisol's town are deserted. She commands a force of 10 officers. They have two police cars.

"Bullet holes pockmark her office — on the door, pictures of missing men presumed murdered."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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