José Antonio García Apac

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

José Antonio García Apac, editor of the weekly paper Ecos de la Cuenca en Tepalcatepec, has been missing since November 20, 2006. That evening, he pulled over to call his family on his way home on a highway in the central state of Michoacán. The 55-year-old father of six has not been seen since.

As García was driving home to Morelia, the state capital, he stopped to call his family. While on the phone with his son, García was overheard responding to several men who asked his identity, family members told CPJ. The assailants then ordered the journalist to hang up the phone. Sounds of García being dragged away were heard before the line went dead.

García, nicknamed "El Chino," reported regularly on organized crime in Michoacán. His wife Rosa Isela Caballero told CPJ that in February 2006, García compiled a list of Michoacán state officials, including police officers, who he believed were linked to criminal groups. He took the list to his sources in Mexico City’s federal anti-organized crime squad for corroboration. According to Caballero, colleagues believe this may have played a role in García’s disappearance.

Caballero has demanded a thorough investigation of her husband’s disappearance, but the authorities say they have no leads to follow, she told CPJ.

Despite García’s absence, Ecos de la Cuenca en Tepalcatepec still circulates on a bimonthly basis. Caballero now oversees the newspaper. A passport-size photo of García, with a caption demanding that his case be solved is featured on the upper right-hand side of each issue.