VERACRUZ, Mexico – The body of a journalist who was abducted by armed men three weeks ago has been found in eastern Mexico, authorities said Sunday, adding that a former police officer has confessed to carrying out the crime allegedly at the request of the town's mayor.
The Jan. 2 disappearance of Moises Sanchez had sparked protests in Veracruz state, where at least 11 journalists have been killed since December 2010, making it one of the most dangerous states in Mexico for reporters.
Sanchez was a social activist and journalist in the town of Medellin de Bravo who published a weekly, "La Union," which covered local government corruption and violent deaths, as well as printing citizen complaints. Sanchez's relatives said he received threats and had pointed to Mayor Omar Cruz, a frequent target of the journalist's reports, as the main suspect in his disappearance.
On Sunday, Veracruz state prosecutor Luis Angel Bravo announced that Sanchez's body was found the previous day on the outskirts of Medellin de Bravo.
Bravo said an ex-police officer confessed to participating in Sanchez's murder along with five other people at the instructions of the deputy director of the town's police force allegedly at the request of Cruz. The ex-police officer said they decapitated the journalist, mutilated his body and abandoned it in a ravine.
The mayor could not be reached for comment and it was not clear if he had a lawyer. He has immunity from prosecution as mayor, but Bravo said he will ask the state legislature to withdraw the immunity so that Cruz can be charged.
After Sanchez's abduction, authorities brought in 36 of Medellin de Bravo's police officers to give statements. But so far only three have been implicated in the case, including the deputy director.