Mexican reporter Valentín Valdés Espinosa was abducted on Thursday and found shot to death early this morning in the city of Saltillo, Coahuila state, in northern Mexico, according to local news reports. Mexican authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into this vicious attack and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Valdés, who covered local news including crime for the daily Zócalo de Saltillo, finished work at the paper around 11 p.m. and left the office with two colleagues, according to Editor-in-Chief Sergio Cisneros. While they were in a car in downtown Saltillo, a group of men in two SUVs intercepted them. Valdés and a reporter whose name has not been released were forced into one of the SUVs and driven away, Cisneros said.
Coahuila’s attorney general’s office said that Valdés was found dead early this morning in front of the Marbella Hotel, according to an official statement. Valdés had been tortured and shot several times, the statement said. The reporter was found with a message that read: “This is going to happen to those who don’t understand. The message is for everyone.” According to the attorney general’s office, the murder was allegedly committed by organized crime.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world for the press. CPJ research shows that 42 journalists—including Valdés—have been killed in Mexico, at least 18 in direct reprisal for their work, since 1992.