Parents of U.S. Journalist Slain in Mexico Seek Outside Probe Into His Killing

The parents of an American journalist slain in southern Mexico said Wednesday they were unsatisfied with the progress authorities have made in the case and will have outside investigators review video footage and forensic evidence.

Bradley Roland Will, a 36-year-old journalist-activist from New York, was killed in October 2006 while filming unrest in Oaxaca state, where protesters had been fighting for months to oust Gov. Ulises Ruiz for alleged electoral fraud. Will recorded video and wrote dispatches for in the month before his death.

"It's been a year-and-a-half now," said father Hardy Will, who traveled to Mexico City and Oaxaca with Bradley's mother Kathy Will to meet with authorities and human rights groups. "We would expect some progress and concrete results."

He said the couple met with investigators on Tuesday from the federal Attorney General's office and officials there agreed to let four experts from Physicians for Human Rights examine Will's autopsy, various photographs, video footage and ballistics evidence.

The family is particularly interested in having them study the video Will filmed of his own death to rule out a close-range shooting.

On the day of the killing, Will was videotaping a group of protesters in the Oaxacan slum of Santa Lucia when a gunbattle erupted. Will was shot in the abdomen and died before he reached the hospital.

Investigators arrested two town officials in the killing but released them after state Attorney General Lizbeth Cana suggested Will may have been shot by a protester standing near him.

"The hypothesis up to this point is that it was somebody next to Brad, and we feel that is totally ridiculous," Kathy Will said.

A spokeswoman for Mexico's federal Attorney General's office, which has taken over the case, said Wednesday it had no statement to make about the investigation.

The National Human Rights Commission said 11 others died as a direct result of the violent confrontations, which ravaged Oaxaca from May to November 2006.

"He was killed in the exact same way as the others," Kathy Will said. "We feel it's our duty to follow his path — to not allow him to be another victim of exactly what he was trying to uncover."