Alfredo Cardoso Echeverría, founder and editor of the online news magazine Las Dos Costas, was abducted on October 28, 2021, from his home in Acapulco, on the Pacific coast of the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, by a group of masked, armed men, according to news reports and Cardoso’s wife, who spoke to CPJ via phone but asked not to be named out of concerns for her safety.
He was found the next day close to his residence with at least five gunshot wounds; he was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery, but was pronounced dead on October 31, his wife said.
According to news reports, Cardoso previously worked as a photographer for several media outlets in Acapulco. CPJ was unable to locate more information about his prior work as a journalist and was unable to find the Las Dos Costas magazine online. Cardoso’s wife was unable to provide details on the journalist’s recent work.
An official with the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which operates under the auspices of the federal Interior Secretariat and coordinates protection programs for journalists and rights defenders at risk, told CPJ that the institution was unaware of any threats against Cardoso’s life. He asked to remain anonymous as he is not authorized to speak on the matter.
Guerrero state governor Evelyn Salgado condemned the killing on October 31 in a statement on Facebook. She said that she had instructed her government to provide protection to Cardoso’s family and to investigate the incident.
On November 23, the Guerrero state prosecutor’s office announced the arrest of a suspect in the murder in a press release published on Facebook. The announcement included a redacted photo of the suspect, who was named as Roberto “N,” but did not otherwise elaborate on his identity or the possible motive involved.
Cardoso’s wife told CPJ that the state prosecutor’s office did not inform her of the arrest, which she learned of when friends sent her the Facebook announcement. She could not identify the person depicted, she said.
CPJ called the state prosecutor’s office more than a dozen times in the days immediately after Cardoso was killed and after the arrest was announced, but the phone was never answered.
On March 28, 2022, Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, the federal special prosecutor for crimes committed against freedom of expression, told CPJ in a private meeting that a federal judge had authorized his office (FEADLE) to take over the Cardoso murder case in February, meaning that authority over the investigation had been transferred to the FEADLE.
Although he did not provide CPJ with further details, he added that his office believed that Cardoso was murdered because of his journalism. In at least one interrogation, Robert ‘N’ said he had been hired by another suspect, a former Acapulco police officer whose identity has not been made public due to the investigation being ongoing, to ‘pick up a journalist’ and intimidate him, although originally not to murder him, according to a section of the case file that Cardoso’s widow shared with CPJ.
According to Cardoso’s widow, the unidentified suspect was, in turn, hired by an unidentified politician who was angered by a publication authored by Cardoso. She told CPJ that she had not been provided any further details about which politician may have been involved and what report may have provoked the abduction and murder.