The body of Mexican journalist Gregorio Jiménez, who was kidnapped a week ago from his home, was found on Tuesday in a common grave along with the bodies of two other victims, authorities said.
The 46-year-old freelance reporter, who wrote crime stories for two newspapers in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz state, was taken from his home at gunpoint on the morning of February 4 by a group of unknown men, his family said.
Police said they arrested four people, including a female neighbor who allegedly helped to organize the kidnapping and murder of the reporter.
Early Tuesday morning, police found the safe house where Jiménez and the other victims had been held and evidence there led them to the grave.
His kidnapping provoked outrage among his news colleagues in Veracruz, many of whom took to the streets to show their anger in a series of demonstrations. Newspapers and television reporters had used their media to beg the authorities to do all they could to rescue Jiménez. One organization, Periodistas de a Pie (Journalists take a stand), handed out his photograph and posted it on social media networks in the hope that citizens could offer help in the search.
On Tuesday, there were contradictory reports over Jiménez’s whereabouts, including whether he was found alive as one local deputy, Eduardo López Macias, had previously announced in the assembly. But that report was denied two hours later by the Veracruz state government.
Jiménez worked for Notisur, a daily which reported his kidnapping the day after he was taken. The newspaper said that the journalist had received threats from the female owner of a bar called El Mamey, which was investigated by police. It wasn’t clear whether it was the bar owner who had been arrested on Tuesday along with the other murder suspects.
Earlier, Jiménez, who was known as “Goyo,” reported that there had been a rash of kidnapping in his neighborhood over the past few weeks.
Journalists who work in high crime areas in Mexico run a high risk of becoming victims of violence and intimidation by criminal gangs. In the last 12 years, some 70 journalists have been killed throughout Mexico, according to the group Artículo 19 (Article 19). Veracruz has the highest number of kidnappings of any state. According to friends and colleagues, Jiménez, a humble man, didn’t want to become of a crime reporter because he feared for his family’s safety.