Kidnapped Mexican Jounalist Found With Throat Slit

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MEXICO CITY (AP) ― The body of a kidnapped Mexican journalist has been found with his throat slit, federal prosecutors said Sunday.

The family of Enrique Villicana Palomares, a columnist for the daily newspaper The Voice of Michoacan in central Mexico, reported him missing last week after he didn’t make it to a university where he taught writing.

Federal prosecutors said in a written statement that his body was found Saturday in the state capital, Morelia, after someone demanded a ransom. The statement did not say whether a ransom was paid, and prosecutors were not available.

Investigators have not determined if Palomares was targeted because of his work as a journalist.

His family told the press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders that he was a member of the indigenous Purepecha group, and that he had written columns about attacks by armed groups on members on his community.

Palomares was at least the fifth reporter killed in Mexico this year, and 12 were murdered last year. Many of those were victims of Mexico’s powerful drug traffickers.

Drug-related violence in Mexico has claimed more than 17,900 lives since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched a war against drug gangs.

Reporters Without Borders said in a statement Sunday that federal law enforcement officials must do more to protect journalists in Mexico, noting that Palomares’ employers had notified state authorities about threats against him more than two weeks ago.

“Regardless of the motive, the state attorney general office’s inaction was reprehensible if it was indeed aware of the threats against him,” said the statement.