Molly Molloy is a research librarian and writer in Las Cruces, New Mexico, just 40 miles from Ciudad Juárez. In the 1990s she started the Frontera List to distribute news and analysis about the U.S.-Mexico border region to a network of scholars, activists and journalists. The list has grown to more than 1000 subscribers and has been cited as an important source for information on Mexico and the border, especially since waves of hyper-violence erupted in the country in 2007.

See: A Gruesome Reckoning: Librarian Sifts Mexican Press to Tally Drug-Cartel-Related Killings in Juárez,


Ciudad Juárez became the epicenter of violence in Mexico in 2008 after President Felipe Calderon sent the Mexican army to the city to supposedly fight drug cartels—a move that only increased the killings. Between 2008 and 2012, more than 11,000 people were murdered in Juárez—a city of about 1.2 million people only a five-minute walk from the United States. For several years Juárez was the most violent city in the world. Molloy's work to document the murders in the city became a foundation to Charles Bowden's book, Murder City: Ciudad Juárez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields (Nation Books, 2010). Molloy also translated and edited the life story of a cartel killer who worked for 20 years as a member of the Chihuahua state police while at the same time murdering hundreds of people who were enemies of his cartel bosses in El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin (Nation Books, 2011). 


Some critics have said that Molloy's focus on the raw numbers of murders denies the humanity of the victims and of those working for social change in Juárez. She disagrees. "The actual victims of the slaughter happening in Juárez disappear in the pages of commentary and policy analysis from government, academic and law enforcement experts in both the United States and Mexico. Poets and critics say that perhaps 'Juárez has become a metaphor, an emblem of the future of the U.S.-Mexico border…' [See “Juárez is dying, prominent journalist warns,” El Paso Times, April 10, 2010.] But Molloy insists that Juárez is not a metaphor. It is a real place of great neglect and great suffering. It is a place where gangs of killers—organized and otherwise—commit murder with no fear of punishment. It is a place where the citizens can expect no protection from their government leaders or from their institutions." See:


In Juárez and elsewhere in Mexico, murder victims are criminalized by the rhetoric of officials who insist repeatedly that 90 percent of the dead are "criminals killed by other criminals." This standard narrative is only now being challenged in mainstream media since the disappearance and massacre of 43 students from Ayotzinapa in southern Mexico in September 2014. More than six years earlier, in August 2008 in Juárez, nine young people were slaughtered in a drug rehab center and in subsequent years, more such centers were attacked with a total of more than 50 mass murder victims. The standard explanation for the killings is that the dead were gang members killed by rival gangs, even though there is evidence that the rehab centers were targeted in social cleansing operations carried out by the Mexican army and paramilitary death squads. 


Molloy chronicled this first rehab center killing, Massacre at CIAD #8 in Juárez: Masked Gunmen Unleash AK-47s on Drug-Rehab Center; Mexican Soldiers Parked 50 Yards Away Do Nothing, 


In 2013, Molloy published her analysis of the Mexican violence here: The Mexican Undead: Toward a New History of the “Drug War” Killing Fields. In addition to research and writing, Molloy provides expert testimony in political asylum cases for people forced to flee Mexico due to persecution and violence.


Molly Molloy and Charles Bowden lived and worked together at their home in Las Cruces until Bowden’s death in August 2014. In addition to many visits with friends in Ciudad Juárez, they traveled to Southern Arizona, the Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf coast of south Texas, the Platte River of central Nebraska, the Florida Everglades and the bayous of south Louisiana to spend time with hummingbirds, hawks, sandhill cranes, whooping cranes, herons, crested caracaras, roseate spoonbills and other feathered migrants.

This website serves as an extension to the feature documentary DEAD WHEN I GOT HERE. News; direct sales of the film and book; exclusive scenes that didn't make the final cut; photo essays and interviews all go towards a more involved experience. There are many contributors. If you wish to add anything then please get in touch.