The body of a Mexican journalist missing for days has been found in the state of Nayarit, according to the state public prosecutor’s office.
Luis Martín Sanchez Iniguez worked for the newspaper La Jornada. He had been missing since Wednesday and his wife filed a missing persons report with the authorities on Friday.
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His body was found on the outskirts of the city of Tepic on Saturday.
It was not immediately clear how the 59-year-old journalist died, but authorities estimated his death occurred 24 to 48 hours before his body was found.
“The body was found with signs of violence, and two handwritten signs were found on it,” the prosecutor said in a statement, without revealing what the messages said.
Handwritten signs are frequently left by drug cartels with the bodies of victims, but the office said the motive for the killing was still under investigation.
The discovery comes as authorities are investigating two other potential crimes against media workers in Nayarit.
Another media worker was reported missing on July 4. He has not been seen since he left for work at a school the prior morning, authorities said. Mexican media identified him as Osiris Maldonado, who previously worked with La Jornada.
On July 7, two hooded armed men broke into the apartment of journalist Jonathan Lora Ramirez and forced him into a car. He was found “in a good state of health”, authorities said, adding they were investigating the crime of illegal detention.
Nayarit authorities said they immediately opened investigations once the cases were reported, and they are following special protocols for journalists and human rights defenders.
“In accordance with what is established provisions into the applicable protocols, it is necessary to take into consideration the activities of the victims who put them at a greater degree of vulnerability,” the public prosecutor’s office of Nayarit said in a statement.
Sanchez Iniguez was last seen in Xalisco, a Nayarit town that has long been linked to the smuggling of heroin and opium.
He would be at least the second journalist to be killed this year in Mexico where investigating corruption, crime and drug cartels often comes at a high risk.
The country consistently ranks as one of the deadliest countries for journalists, according to press freedom groups.
In February, news photographer Jose Ramiro Araujo was stabbed and beaten to death in the northern Mexico border state of Baja California.
Press-related killings have skyrocketed under the administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, increasing 85 percent in the first half of his term compared with his predecessor’s.
The year 2022 was among the deadliest ever for Mexican media workers, with 15 killed.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said it “strongly condemns” the killing of Sanchez Iniguez. It demanded an immediate and credible investigation.