Ledesma, 41, a Bolivian-born reporter for the community weekly newspaper Mundo Villa and director of local TV station Mundo Villa, was found stabbed to death around 4:30 a.m. near his home in Villa 31, a shantytown in northern Buenos Aires, the local news media reported. His wife, Ruth Marlene Torrico, told CPJ that Ledesma left home around 4 a.m., possibly to fix an electrical problem in the neighborhood. She said she made the assumption because he was found with a screwdriver in his pocket and that he was often called on to make small repairs during the night. The journalist was also known as a community advocate and leader in the neighborhood.
Argentine authorities have not identified any suspects or disclosed possible motives for the murder, the local media reported.
Torrico said a woman approached her when she arrived at the scene of the murder just after the attack and threatened that something similar might happen to her and her six children if they don’t leave the neighborhood. Two women approached her sister the following day and made similar threats to the family, she said. Torrico filed a complaint with the federal police and authorities assigned federal agents to patrol around the journalist’s home.
Ledesma wrote about neighborhood problems, such as unsanitary conditions and damaged roads in Villa 31, Mundo Villa’s editor Joaquín Ramos told CPJ.
“We urge Argentine authorities to fully investigate the murder of journalist Adams Ledesma, establish whether he was killed for his work, and bring those responsible to justice,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas.
Lethal violence against the press is rare in Argentina, according to CPJ research. The last reported murder in retaliation for work took place in 1999, when Ricardo Gangeme, editor and publisher of magazine El Informador Cubutense, was shot to death in the province of Chubut.
CPJ will continue investigating to determine whether Ledesma’s murder was connected to his journalism.