The body of Anabel Flores Salazar, a reporter for El Sol de Orizaba who was abducted from her home near the city of Orizaba in Mexico's Veracruz state on Feb. 8, was found the following day in the neighboring state of Puebla, according to a Puebla state official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The CPJ called on Mexican federal authorities to take over investigation and prosecution of the crime and to consider journalism as a motive.
At least eight armed assailants dressed in what appeared to be military uniforms forced their way into Flores Salazar's home in a pre-dawn raid and went straight to her room, the journalist's aunt Sandra Luz Salazar, who was in the house at the time, told CPJ in a telephone interview. The assailants claimed they had a warrant for the reporter's arrest, pointed weapons at family members, then forced Flores Salazar into one of three trucks outside, Luz Salazar said. "We pleaded with them not to take her. I told them that she recently had a baby," she said. According to news reports, Flores Salazar, who covers crime for El Sol de Orizaba, had a baby and a four-year-old son.
Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte Ochoa said on Twitter after the abduction that authorities were following the case carefully. A statement from the state prosecutor's office claimed the reporter had links with an alleged member of an organized crime group. The statement said that in August 2014 Flores Salazar had been in the company of an alleged member of an organized crime group at the time of his arrest. Authorities said they are looking into possible link between Flores Salazar and this individual. The statement did not provide further details.
"The administration of Governor Javier Duarte Ochoa has a dismal record of impunity and has been incapable and unwilling to prosecute crimes against the press," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas. "We urge federal authorities to take over the investigation into Anabel Flores Salazar's murder, seriously look her journalism as a possible motive, and bring all those responsible to justice."
Veracruz is one of the most dangerous regions in the world for journalists, CPJ research shows. Of the 11 journalists killed in direct retaliation for their work in Mexico since 2011, six were either killed in Veracruz or had reported in the state. CPJ is investigating the murder of at least seven journalists in the state. During the same time period, three other journalists have gone missing in the state. (CPJ, Feb. 9)
See our last post on atttacks on the press in Mexico.