MEXICO CITY – The Mexican unit of ride-hailing service Cabify said on Monday that it will boost security measures after one of its drivers was accused of raping and murdering a passenger.
The company likewise urged authorities to apply “the full weight of the law” to the person or persons found responsible for the rape and murder of Mara Fernanda Castilla, a 19-year-old college student in the central state of Puebla.
Besides pledging to cooperate with authorities, Cabify Mexico announced enhancements to its “security protocols,” such as more thoroughly screening drivers and giving users the opportunity to include emergency contact information in their profiles.
The company said it will also work to develop “a panic button” within the Cabify app that riders who felt they were in danger could use to alert police.
A list of drivers let go for various infractions will be provided to law enforcement, Cabify Mexico said.
In Puebla, meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the crime and state government chief of staff Diodoro Carrasco said that Cabify’s operating registration was canceled, “due fundamentally to irregularities in security protocols” brought to light by the Castilla case.
The driver arrested for the crime, identified only as Ricardo N, “had been fired by Uber for improper conduct” before he was hired by Cabify, Carrasco said.
Castilla, who was studying political science at the People’s Autonomous University of the State of Puebla, boarded a Cabify vehicle in the wee hours of Sept. 8 after leaving a bar in Cholula, a suburb of Puebla city.
She was found dead a week later.
Prosecutors in Puebla say the Cabify driver took Castilla to a motel, where he raped and beat her before strangling her to death.
Roughly 3,000 university students and professors marched in Puebla city on Monday to repudiate Castilla’s murder.