José Manuel Nava Sánchez

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Nava’s body was found around 9 a.m. by a cleaner in his Mexico City apartment, according to local press reports. Columnist for the national daily El Sol de México and former director of the Mexico City-based daily Excélsior, he had been stabbed at least seven times in the neck and chest. Local authorities told reporters that a number of valuable items were apparently missing from the journalist’s home.

Nava had been Excélsior‘s director from February 2002 until December 2005, when the paper was bought by Grupo Imagen, owner of several Mexican radio stations. Until then, Excélsior had been run by employees as a cooperative. Before taking over as director, Nava had been Excélsior‘s Washington correspondent for 16 years.

In September, Nava began writing the daily column “Nuevo Poder” (New Power) for El Sol de México, said Guillermo Chao, information director for the Mexican Editorial Organization, which owns the daily. Nava’s columns focused on political and social analysis, Chao told CPJ.

On November 6, Nava published a book titled Excélsior, el Asalto Final (Excélsior, the Final Assault), which criticized government officials, Excélsior employees, and business people for their roles in the demise of Excélsior as a cooperative, the local press reported. Nava accused several individuals of dishonesty, The Associated Press quoted Octavio Colmenares, a spokesman for the book’s publisher Libros para Todos Editorial, as saying. Both Colmenares and Chao said that they knew of no threats against Nava.

Authorities believe Nava knew his murderer and that he was killed for personal reasons, according to a spokesman for the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists. The spokesman told CPJ in December that investigators had put aside theories related to Nava’s book.