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Mexican crime reporter found killed in Sonora state

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 11:56 AM EDT, Mon May 21, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marco Antonio Avila Garcia, 39, had been abducted Thursday from a car wash
  • His body was found Friday in a plastic bag
  • It bore signs of torture and a message related to drug trafficking

(CNN) -- The body of a crime reporter who had been abducted Thursday in northwest Sonora State was found Friday inside a plastic bag south of Sonora, Notimex reported.

Marco Antonio Avila Garcia's body, which bore signs of torture and carried a message related to drug trafficking, was discovered south of the municipality of Guyamas, the state-run news agency said, citing Jose Larrinaga, a spokesman for the district attorney.

Avila Garcia, 39, covered the public security beat for the daily El Regional de Sonora and Diario de Sonora in the municipality of Cajeme. Three armed, hooded men had kidnapped him from a carwash, Larrinaga said.

The National Human Rights Commission condemned the killing.

Dangerous work for journalists in Mexico

Commission President Raul Plascencia Villanueva called for an official investigation and that those responsible be punished "and sent a clear message that there will be no tolerance for those who commit crimes against journalists."

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it had tallied more than 45 journalists who have been killed or disappeared in Mexico since 2006.

"We call on the Mexican authorities to do everything in their power to locate Marcos Avila Garcia and bring him back to safety," said Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director.

Early this month, the dismembered bodies of two newspaper photographers, the girlfriend of one of them and a retired newspaper photographer were found inside plastic bags in Mexico's eastern state of Veracruz.

In its report on a survey of political rights and civil liberties, "Freedom of the Press 2012," Freedom House described Mexico as "not free."

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