Juan Arjón López, the founder and editor of Facebook-based news outlet A Qué Le Temes, was found dead on August 16, 2022, in San Luis Río Colorado, a town in the northern Mexican state of Sonora on the U.S. border, according to news reports.
According to a statement by the Sonora state prosecutor’s office, Arjón’s body was found near an expressway and appeared to have died from a violent blow to the head. The statement said the prosecutor had not ruled out any line of investigation.
Arjón, 62, was first reported missing on social media on August 9, according to news reports, although the prosecutor’s office said on August 15 that no official missing person report had been filed.
CPJ was unable to determine exactly when Arjón went missing; his last article at A Qué Le Temes was published on August 2, and his disappearance was publicly reported on August 9.
On August 17, San Luis Río Colorado municipal authorities told local media that a suspect was arrested for his alleged involvement in the abduction and killing of Arjón and that the vehicle allegedly used while carrying out the crime had been located on August 3 after being reported stolen from the U.S. state of California. No further details about the identity of the suspect of the motive for the killing were given.
CPJ repeatedly called the Sonora state prosecutor’s office for comment but did not receive any response.
According to Humberto Melgoza, the editor of San Luis Río Colorado-based website Contraseña and a friend of Arjón’s, who spoke with CPJ over the phone, the reporter started the outlet on Facebook several months before his death.
Melgoza added that Arjón had worked on and off as a journalist in the past and had been a collaborator for OmniCable, a now-defunct radio station, and that he combined his work as a reporter with delivering meals for a local restaurant.
According to Melgoza, Arjón had a troubled private life and lived in a substance abuse rehabilitation center in San Luis Río Colorado at the time of his death. “He was a good guy, though,” Melgoza told CPJ. “He was very lively, very sociable.”
Arjón reported on a wide range of subjects for A Qué Le Temes, including crime, local politics and the environment. The most recent articles were posted on August 2 and included two short news stories about the arrests of suspects of robberies and theft.
Melgoza told CPJ that San Luis Río Colorado has recently seen a spike in violence, which he attributed to criminal gangs. “There is a lot of presence of drug traffickers here, lots of shootouts,” he said. According to local newspaper La Tribuna de San Luis, the municipality had the fifth highest homicide rate in Sonora in 2021.