Villatoro’s body was found six days after the radio journalist was kidnapped from his car. Villatoro, 47, was a prominent host and news coordinator at HRN, one of Honduras’ most popular radio stations. His body was found on a sidewalk dressed in the uniform of a special operations police unit and with a red handkerchief covering his face, according to news reports. The journalist had two gunshot wounds to the head. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots in the area a few hours before the body was discovered.
Earlier that day, President Porfirio Lobo told journalists that the kidnappers had sent a “proof of life” video with images of Villatoro. He later clarified that the images were from three days earlier, according to news reports. News accounts said the journalist’s family had received a demand for ransom. Héctor Ivan Mejía, spokesman for the national police, told journalists there were many possible theories but that nothing had been confirmed and that police would continue to investigate.
On May 22, authorities arrested three suspects–the sisters Katlin and Jessica Zambrano and their cousin, Marvin Enrique Oliva Navas –whom they accused of being accomplices to the kidnapping and murder, according to news reports. The suspects, who police officials said were linked to phone calls to Villatoro’s family, were placed in detention. All three denied the charges. Later that month, authorities arrested the brothers Osman Fernando Osorio Arguijo and Edgar Francisco Osorio Arguijo and an associate, Marvin Alonso Gómez, in a police operation they said uncovered weapons and a vehicle allegedly used in the crime, according to news reports. The three were charged with kidnapping and killing Villatoro.
In March, 2014, a Tegucigalpa court absolved the Zambranos and Oliva Navas, but convicted the Osorios and Gómez, according to news reports. In June 2014, they were sentenced to life in prison. There were no further details about a motive or who had ordered the murder and authorities said they continue to investigate, according to news reports.