1st Journalists Killings in "Safe" Mexico City

Two female journalists were found bound and naked in a Mexico City park, and investigators are looking into whether their killing was a gender crime, the capital's chief prosecutor said Friday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, although many journalists have been threatened and killed in Mexico, it appears to be the first time journalists were killed in what was considered the “safe harbor” of Mexico City.

Miguel Mancera said investigators will not ignore all possible motives in the killings, including possible connections to a money-exchange business owned by one of the victims, Rocio Gonzalez. Money exchanges at Mexico City's international airport have been targeted by thieves in the past.

In an interview with MVS radio, Mancera did not say whether the women had been sexually abused. Autopsies showed that Gonzalez and the other victim, journalist Marcela Yarce, were strangled with rope and later shot. Their hands were tied behind their backs.

Yarce helped found the news magazine Contralinea. The magazine's director, Miguel Badillo, told MVS that Yarce sold advertising for the publication but she was no longer reporting for it.

The magazine has sharply criticized the government, and Bardillo said Friday that it has not been given any government advertising. He also said the publication has faced lawsuits from companies and individuals angered by its reporting.

He said that by selling advertising, Yarce played "a key role" in helping the magazine survive.

Apart from the lawsuits, "there is nothing else that would make us suspect that this event was related to her (Yarce's) journalistic work," Mancera said.

Gonzalez was involved in a project for an in-house publication for an unspecified corporation and was a former reporter for the Televisa television network, Badillo said.

Two joggers discovered the women's bodies Thursday near a cemetery in El Mirador park in the poor, crowded neighborhood of Iztapalapa.

The city Attorney General's Office said Gonzalez was 48 years old. Relatives told local news media that Yarce was 45.

Mexico's Human Rights Commission said Thursday night that it would open its own investigation into the homicides.

"The aggression, threats, intimidation and persecution that media workers suffer inhibit and limit free speech," the commission said in a statement.

It said eight journalists have been killed in Mexico this year and 74 since 2000. Other press groups cite lower numbers.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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