The body of reporter Jesús Alejandro Márquez Jiménez was found in a ditch near the Tepic airport on the morning of December 1, 2018, according to news reports. A December 3 article on the website Crítica Diario cited anonymous sources as saying that Márquez’s body was found with at least four bullet wounds. The newspaper added that the body showed signs of a beating.
Márquez, 40, was the editor at Orión Informativo, a biweekly print and online newsmagazine he founded approximately two years ago, Nayarit-based reporter Norma Cardoso told CPJ on December 2. He had previously worked for around eight years at Crítica Diario, a local newspaper.
Orión Informativo mostly covered local politics in Tepic and surrounding municipalities, according to Norma Cardoso and news reports. CPJ was able to retrieve several articles published on the magazine’s website in the last days before Márquez’s death, which dealt with political events in the region, but was unable to obtain copies of its recent print editions. Cardoso told CPJ that Márquez was well known for his highly critical reporting on local politics in the region but said that she was unaware of any threats against his life. CPJ was unable to find evidence of threats or previous attacks against Márquez as of December 4, 2018.
Several attempts by CPJ on December 4, 2018 to reach Crítica Diario‘s editor Lenín Guardado via WhatsApp message remained unanswered.
Local media said the reporter was politically active and supported the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena), the ruling political party of president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who assumed office on December 1, 2018. In a photo published widely on the day the news of his death was first reported, he was shown wearing a polo shirt sporting the logo of Morena while posing with López Obrador.
In a December 2 article, Mexico City newspaper Excelsior said that he was last seen alive the afternoon of November 30, when he received a phone call while eating with his family, after which he left his home. The nature of the phone call has not been reported in national or local media. Several calls by CPJ to Márquez’s family via cell phone remained unanswered as of December 4, 2018.
A spokesperson for the Nayarit Attorney General’s Office (FGE) told CPJ on December 3, 2018 that he had not yet been authorized to disclose any details about the investigation. As of December 4, the FGE had yet to release a statement on its website or its Facebook and Twitter pages about the murder.
Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, who heads the office of the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), told CPJ on December 2 that his offices had opened an investigation into the murder.
A spokesperson for the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely on the matter, told CPJ on December 2 that Márquez had not been incorporated in a federal protection scheme and had not reported threats to the institution.