Ramírez, host of a popular news program in the town of Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, was found stabbed to death in his car.
A 29-year-old reporter with the private station Radio Net, Ramírez had been stabbed more than 30 times, according to CPJ sources and local press accounts. The murder was believed to have taken place earlier on the night Ramírez’s body was discovered.
Police later announced that they had found eight bags of marijuana in the trunk of Ramírez’s car. The journalist’s colleagues and Ciudad Juárez mayor Gustavo Elizondo publicly vouched for Ramírez’s integrity, however, and said there was no indication that he had been involved in illicit activity. Local journalists claimed the drugs had been planted, perhaps by the killer or killers, to suggest that Ramírez was involved in the drug trade.
Ramírez began his career with the radio stations 860 and FM Globo. He then worked as a print reporter with the Ciudad Juárez daily El Norte before taking a job with Radio Net. His daily news show, “Juárez Hoy,” had been on the air for about a month when he died. Broadcast from Monday to Friday, the hour-long program featured breaking news and interviews with politicians, business leaders, and others.
While the case was referred to the Federal Attorney’s Office, which handles all drug-related offenses, there was also speculation that Ramírez was killed for his coverage of the local sex industry. And there was some reason to suspect that he was not killed for his journalism, since local sources also suggested that he had worked as a government informant.
CPJ published an alert about the murder on May 1. At year’s end, a government spokesman in Ciudad Juárez declined to release any information about the investigation but expressed confidence that the case would be solved.