Journalist found dead near U.S. border in Mexico

Journalist found dead near U.S. border in Mexico

An independent journalist found dead in northern Mexico was killed by a blow to the head, authorities said Tuesday, reporting the latest in 14 slayings of Mexican reporters and media workers so far this year, the deadliest in recent memory for the profession.

Prosecutors in the border state of Sonora announced earlier that the body of Juan Arjón López had been found in the border city of San Luis Rio Colorado. They said the journalist, who had been reported missing Aug. 9, was identified from the tattoos on his body.

According to the autopsy, López died from “head trauma due to a blunt blow,” the state Public Ministry said in a statement.

The state’s chief prosecutor, Claudia Contreras, said investigators would seek to determine if the killing was related to López’s work as a journalist.

Press freedom organization Article 19 said it was documenting the events surrounding López’s disappearance and death.

📢 ARTICLE 19 tiene conocimiento del hallazgo del cuerpo de Juan Arjón López, periodista reportado desaparecido. Desde el día de ayer, que esta organización conoció la desaparición está documentando los hechos.

📷 Foto: Facebook pic.twitter.com/GfrXsr4paZ

— ARTICLE 19 MX-CA (@article19mex) August 17, 2022

San Luis is across the border from Yuma, Arizona, and has long been known for medical and dentistry offices catering to Americans. But the area has been hit by drug cartel violence in recent years.

In March, volunteer searchers found 11 bodies in clandestine burial pits in a stretch of desert near a garbage dump in San Luis.

At the beginning of August, a journalist was among four people killed inside a beer shop in the central Mexico state of Guanajuato.

Authorities said it was unknown whether that attack was related to the journalist’s work, his role as representative of local businesses in the planning of an upcoming fair or something else.

While organized crime is often involved in journalist killings, small town officials or politicians with political or criminal motivations are often suspects as well. Journalists running small news outlets in Mexico’s interior are easy targets.

Mexico is considered the most dangerous country for reporters outside a war zone.

Other journalists killed in Mexico in 2022

Earlier this month,  journalist Ernesto Méndez was among four people killed inside a bar in central Mexico.

In June, journalist Antonio de la Cruz was shot to death in northeastern Mexico as he was leaving his house with his 23-year-old daughter. His daughter later died from wounds suffered in the attack that killed her father

In May, two colleagues at a news site were shot to death in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The Veracruz State Prosecutor’s Office said it was investigating the killings of Yessenia Mollinedo Falconi and Sheila Johana García Olivera, the director and a reporter, respectively, of the online news site El Veraz in Cosoleacaque.

In March, prosecutors in the western state of Michoacan said reporter Armando Linares was shot to death at a home in the town of Zitacuaro. His killing came six weeks after the slaying of a colleague, Roberto Toledo, from the same outlet, Monitor Michoacan. It was Linares who announced Toledo’s death Jan. 31 in a video posted to social media.

In early March, gunmen killed Juan Carlos Muñiz, who covered crime for the online news site Testigo Minero in the state of Zacatecas.

Jorge Camero, the director of an online news site who was until recently a municipal worker in the northern state of Sonora, was killed in late February.

In early February, Heber López, director of the online news site Noticias Web, was shot to death in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Reporter Lourdes Maldonado López was found shot to death inside her car in Tijuana on Jan. 23. In a news conference in 2019, Maldonado Lopez told Mexico’s president she feared for her life

Reporter José Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz on Jan. 10

Crime photographer Margarito Martínez was gunned down outside his Tijuana home on Jan. 17.  Guillermo Arias, whose photographs chronicle life and death in the streets of Tijuana, worked with Martinez for many years.

He recalled the painful experience of covering the murder of his friend and fellow journalist.

“His daughter arrived and asked me not to photograph her dad’s body,” Arias told CBS News.

Read More