VERACRUZ, Mexico – A crime reporter for a newspaper in the Gulf state of Veracruz was found decapitated on Wednesday, Mexican police said.
The remains of Julio Valdivia, who covered the police beat for Diario El Mundo de Cordoba, the largest circulation daily in central Veracruz, were discovered next to his motorcycle on railroad tracks in Tezonapa.
The body bore signs of torture, police said.
Authorities in Veracruz said that Valdivia had reported receiving threats in recent months.
Mexico is among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists and Veracruz stands out within the Aztec nation in terms of the perils of being a reporter.
The Gulf coast state has been a battleground for rival criminal outfits seeking to control lucrative drug-smuggling routes between Central America and the United States.
Two-dozen news professionals have been slain in Veracruz since 2010, according to statistics compiled by the State Commission for Protection of Journalists.
Many of those murders took place during the 2010-2016 tenure of Gov. Javier Duarte, who left office 48 days before his term ended, ostensibly to defend himself against corruption charges, and immediately disappeared.
After six months as a fugitive, Duarte was arrested on April 15, 2017, in the lobby of a luxurious hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala, and was later extradited to Mexico.
Valdivia is the second journalist murdered under Gov. Cuitlahuac Garcia Jimenez, who took office in late 2018.
Maria Elena Ferral was gunned down on March 30, while Mireya Ulloa Valencia, editor of La Opinion de Poza Rica newspaper, survived a stabbing earlier in March.
The Mexican chapter of UK-based press freedom organization Article 19 says that the last two decades have witnessed 132 murders of journalists in Mexico.
Mexico led all countries in 2019 with 10 journalists slain, Reporters Without Borders said in its annual report.
Last month, the man found guilty in the March 2017 homicide of reporter Miroslava Breach was sentenced to 50 years in prison. The court concluded that the murder was ordered by a politically connected drug trafficker.
A 14-year sentence was handed down in February to the convicted killer of journalist Javier Valdez, murdered in May 2017 in Culiacan, capital of the western state of Sinaloa.