A MEXICAN journalist reporting on crime in Veracruz was found murdered and decapitated next to train tracks on Wednesday.
Julio Valdivia, 44, wrote about grisly crimes in the gang violence-plagued Gulf Coast state and his death was disclosed by Diario El Mundo, the newspaper he worked for.
Valdivia’s body and motorcycle lay near railroad tracks in the town of Motzorongo.
While there were initial indications that a train may have run over Valdivia, that was ruled out by the prosecutor’s office, a newspaper staffer said, according to the New York Post.
The staffer said Valdivia had been “beheaded and tortured.”
Valdivia covered a rural area close to Veracruz’s border with the state of Oaxaca.
He is at least the fourth journalist killed in Mexico this year.
The Committee to Protect Journalists spoke out against the “terrible events” that led to Valdivia’s death and made an “urgent call” for authorities to find the culprits.
About half of all journalist killings around the world last year took place in Mexico, according to the committee.
A local media protection organization called the CEAPP said Valdivia had not reported threats to his safety or life and therefore did not have outside protection.
CEAPP urged authorities to “shed light” on his death.
In a tweet, the Veracruz government said, “We condemn the homicide of Julio Valdivia.”
Valdivia’s killing comes just weeks after independent journalist Juan Nelcio Espinoza was arrested while reporting on a confrontation in Piedras Negras and died in police custody.
Espinoza was arrested while confronting police and choked to death, authorities in Coahuila told media outlets in the border state.
Over the past two decades, more than 140 journalists have been murdered in Mexico.