Juan Carlos Muñiz

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On March 4, 2022, the body of Juan Carlos Muñiz was found with gunshot wounds in a taxicab in Los Olivos, a neighborhood in the city of Fresnillo in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, where he worked as a journalist and taxi driver, according to news reports.

Muñiz contributed to Testigo Minero, a website that covers local news in the Fresnillo area, under the pseudonyms “Rigoberto” and “El TX,” the latter being a reference to his job as a taxi driver, according to two statements by the outlet.

Testigo Minero’s recent news publications include political reporting and coverage of crime and security issues in Fresnillo, according to CPJ’s review of its website. Many of its stories are published under a “Testigo Minero” byline rather than the name of an individual.

In its statements, Testigo Minero said that Muñiz also worked as a volunteer firefighter and reported for several other media organizations in the region but did not identify those outlets by name. Neither statement said whether the journalist had received any threats related to his work.

In a statement, the Zacatecas state prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation into the killing and was implementing special protocols used for attacks on members of the press. That statement did not provide details on the motive for the attack or identify any suspects.

On March 14, the prosecutor’s office announced in a short statement on its Facebook page that it had arrested a suspect in the killing, identified as Emanuel de Jesús, without providing further details on the motive or whether other suspects were involved. That statement said de Jesús was also under investigation for alleged kidnapping, robbery, and other crimes.

CPJ repeatedly called the Zacatecas prosecutor’s office for comment, but no one answered. CPJ was unable to find contact information for de Jesús or his legal representation.