Mayor denies any link to Mexican journalist’s murder

Santa María El Oro Mayor Martín Silvestre Herrera denied any connection to Sunday’s murder of local journalist Carlos Ortega Samper in the northern Durango state, according to Mexican press reports. 

Unidentified assailants shot and killed Ortega near his house in Santa María El Oro , 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of the state capital, on Sunday afternoon. The reporter, who had been critical of local authorities in his recent reporting for the Durango City-based daily El Tiempo de Durango, alleged in his last published article that three local officials–including Silvestre–had threatened him in connection to his journalism, CPJ research found.

According to the national daily La Jornada, Silvestre told local reporters that he would not resign or take a leave of absence while the investigation into Ortega’s murder was under way. Silvestre said his “conscience and family are at peace.” The mayor told reporters that he had never threatened the reporter, although he acknowledged having had disagreements with Ortega reported La Jornada.

CPJ telephone calls to the other two officials have gone unanswered.

Ortega’s editor, Saúl García, told CPJ that the state attorney’s office was investigating Ortega’s murder. Authorities have not made a motive public.