Martínez, 45, a reporter for the Montemorelos-based radio station XEDD La Tremenda, was picked up on Friday evening by unidentified assailants, according to the reports. Gunmen in three vehicles intercepted Martínez while he was driving in Montemorelos and forced him into one of their vehicles, the Mexican press group Center for Journalism and Public Ethics, known as CEPET, said.
Local police found his beaten body on Saturday along a rural road near the northern border of Nuevo León. The journalist was shot once in the head, according to Agence France-Presse.
Martínez covered various local beats, including local politics, but he stayed away from dangerous assignments like crime reporting, according to a reporter at La Tremenda who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution. Martínez, a journalist with more than a decade of experience, also worked as a correspondent for TV Azteca and W Radio.
“We are shocked by killing of reporter Marco Aurelio Martínez, yet another victim of the deadly wave of violence overtaking the press in Mexico,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s Americas program senior coordinator. “We call on Mexican authorities to fully investigate this crime, and bring all those responsible to justice.”
Local authorities have not identified any suspects, nor disclosed any motives for the crime. CPJ continues to investigate whether Martínez’s death was related to his work.
Mexico is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the press, CPJ research shows. More than 30 journalists have been killed and disappeared since President Felipe Calderón came to power in 2006.