MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Mexican journalist who wrote about crime in the violent Gulf Coast state of Veracruz was found beheaded on Wednesday, local media reported, the latest grisly murder of a reporter in one of the world’s most dangerous nations for journalists.
The body of Julio Valdivia, 44, who specialized in the “nota roja” journalism that focuses on gruesome crime and violence, was found in the remote Tezonapa municipality, about 100 kilometers from the state capital, Veracruz.
A staff member at Valdivia’s Diario El Mundo local newspaper in Veracruz said initially it was suspected that Valdivia might have been run over by a train, but that was ruled out by the prosecutor’s office.
“Valdivia was found near the train tracks, beheaded and tortured,” said the newspaper staff member, who did not wish to be identified.
El Universal and several other local news outlets reported that Valdivia was beheaded, the fourth journalist death in Mexico this year.
In 2019, about half of all murders of journalists around the world occurred in Mexico, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“We condemn the homicide of Julio Valdivia,” the Veracruz government said on its Twitter account.
A local media protection group known as the CEAPP said in a statement that Valdivia did not have extra protection measures as he had not reported facing threats to his security. But the group demanded the authorities “shed light” on the murder.
Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Leslie Adler