Jorge Torres Palacios

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

The decapitated body of columnist and government spokesman Jorge Torres Palacios was found in a bag in an orchard in Guerrero state on June 2, four days after he was abducted by unidentified assailants at his home in Acapulco, according to news reports.

Torres wrote a weekly column on politics and security, called “Nothing Personal,” for the Acapulco newspaper El Dictamen. Some of his articles also appeared in the local news website Libertad Guerrero Noticias. He was the spokesman for the Acapulco municipal health department in Guerrero state for two years following his time in a similar position for former Guerrero state Gov. Zeferino Torreblanca. Prior to that, he hosted news programs on the Guerrero state radio and TV networks.

No ransom was demanded after his abduction, according to colleagues.

Some local journalists who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal told CPJ they did not think Torres’ murder was in relation to his work. But other local journalists criticized official statements and press releases in which, they said, authorities referred only to Torres’ government position and did not acknowledge his work as a journalist, according to the daily La Jornada Guerrero. Torres had written several columns critical of local officials shortly before his death.

In what El Dictamen said was his last column, published shortly after he was abducted, Torres criticized the mayor of Chilpancingo, capital of Guerrero state, accusing him of putting personal political ambition ahead of problems such as crime and corruption. Some of his columns include one published in March in Libertad Guerrero Noticias, in which he accused a state senator of putting gubernatorial plans ahead of congressional work. Another column the same month in Libertad Guerrero Noticias criticized the son of current Guerrero Gov. Ángel Aguirre, who the journalist alleged wanted to run for mayor of Acapulco.

On June 7, the case was officially handed over to the organized crime division of the federal Attorney General’s office, or SEIDO, because officials said state investigators had received threats from organized crime figures that warned them not to dig too deep into the case, according to news reports. The Guerrero state attorney general told reporters that authorities were investigating a possible link to organized crime, but did not provide further details.

Journalists from across Guerrero held public protests demonstrating against Torres’ abduction and murder.