Federal investigators take over probe

New York, April 18, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the loss of Mexican crime reporter Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla, who died Saturday from injuries she suffered in an April 5 shooting in front of her radio station in the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

García Escamilla had been hospitalized in critical condition since she was struck by nine shots to the abdomen, pelvis, arms, and legs as she arrived at work, Stereo 91 News Director Roberto Gálvez Martínez told CPJ. She hosted the program “Punto Rojo” for Stereo 91 XHNOE in Nuevo Laredo, a violence-plagued city of 500,000 in the state of Tamaulipas.

Federal authorities announced last week that they had taken over the investigation. Although state prosecutors usually investigate murder cases in Mexico, federal authorities may take control of a case if they believe the killing is related to organized crime.

The attack occurred about a half hour after the station aired a report by García Escamilla on the slaying of a Nuevo Laredo defense lawyer, Gálvez said. An unidentified assailant approached García Escamilla after she parked her car in front of the station on the morning of April 5, firing 14 times in all, the Mexican press reported.

García Escamilla, an experienced reporter who had worked for several media outlets in the city, had covered crime for Stereo 91 since 2001. Gálvez told CPJ that García Escamilla’s car was torched in early January in front of her house. He said no motive was established, although press reports speculated that it stemmed from her crime reporting. García Escamilla filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office but no action was taken.

The federal government has also taken over the investigation into the slaying of Raúl Gibb Guerrero, owner of the Poza Rica-based daily La Opinión, in the eastern state of Veracruz. Gibb Guerrero was ambushed and killed near his home on April 8.