MEXICO CITY (CNN) -- Amnesty International said Monday that a newspaper editor whose decapitated body was found over the weekend in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo appears to have been targeted by a drug gang carrying out a reprisal for her work on social networks.
Though no investigation has yet been carried out, a message was found next to the body indicating that she was killed by members of organized crime "in retaliation for the information that the victim had distributed in social networks denouncing the activities of criminals in Nuevo Laredo," the human rights group said in a statement posted on its website.
The decapitated body of Maria Elizabeth Macias, the editor of Primera Hora, a daily newspaper based in Nuevo Laredo in the eastern state of Tamaulipas, was found Saturday morning.
"The message is a clear threat to the users of social networks in the regions of greater violence in Mexico," the Amnesty statement said. It noted that two other people were found in Nuevo Laredo on September 14 along with a message that also indicated they had been killed in retaliation for their social network postings. "These three killings seem to represent an alarming strategy to intimidate social network users so that they will give up communicating information related to the violence."
Macias, 39, was the fourth woman journalist to be killed this year in Mexico, Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "There seems to be no way out of this horror," it said. 'The country is immersed in an all-out war and just writing the word 'narcos' or 'trafficking' can cost you your life. What will be left of freedom of information while the barbarity continues?"
Citing unidentified sources, it said Macias used online social networks to report about organized crime along the border and blogged under the name "La Nena de Nuevo Laredo," which translates as "Nuevo Laredo Girl."
According to Reporters Without Borders, the Tamaulipas state attorney general's office said two computer keys, a music player, several cables and the following message were found near her body:
"Ok Nuevo Laredo live on the social networks, I am La Nena de Laredo and I am here because of my reports and yours ... for those who don't want to believe it, this has happened to me because of my actions, because I trusted SEDENA (the army) and MARINA (the navy)... Thank you for your attention. Att: La Nena de Laredo... zzz"
The Z presumably refers to the Zeta drug cartel.
A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office would not confirm the Reporters Without Borders report.
Earlier this month, attackers left threats mentioning two websites on signs beside mutilated bodies in northern Mexico. A woman had been hogtied and disemboweled and left dangling from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man next to her was hanging by his hands.
Signs left near the bodies declared the pair, both apparently in their 20s, were killed for posting denouncements of drug cartel activities.