A Mexican reporter who wrote about his country’s most violent gangs has been found beheaded after being gruesomely tortured.
Julio Valdivia, 44, specialized in “nota roja” journalism which focuses on the most extreme crime. He worked in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz and was found in the remote Tezonapa municipality.
At first his injuries were so bad it was thought he may have been run over by a train, a staff member at Valdivia’s Diario El Mundo local newspaper in Veracruz said. But that was ruled out by the prosecutor’s office.
The worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “Valdivia was found near the train tracks, beheaded and tortured.”
He is the fourth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year. The South American country is one of the most treacherous for reporters to work in. Around half of all global journalist murders last year happened in Mexico, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
The Veracruz government tweeted: “We condemn the homicide of Julio Valdivia.”
Mexico’s murder rate has been rising every year since 2014 and the country sees some of the most brutal violent crime in the world.
In November last year, three women and six children were slaughtered in an ambush by a drug cartel. The wedding party was targeted by gunmen in a shooting attack in the Mexican border state of Sonora, with their bodies found dead in their burned-out SUVs.
And in February a woman was shot nine times at a point-blank range while setting up a taco stand in front of her home where she lived with her family.
The victim, identified as Rosalia Yazmin Duarte Canevett, was killed in the Mexican city of Empalme in the state of Sonora in the early hours of Monday, August 31.
Ms Duarte was setting up a food stand in front of her house when she was approached by gunmen and killed before the suspects fled the scene. The motive was unknown.
The country’s location on the southern border of the US means it has become a battleground for ruthless drug overlords with little regard for human life.
Their smuggling of cocaine, heroine, marijuana and methamphetamines frequently results in bloodbaths, with many innocent victims dying in the crossfire.