38, a crime reporter for the daily La Opinión de Apatzingán in the central state of
Michoacán, was last seen leaving his newsroom to return home to his wife and
young son, his family told CPJ.
authorities found his car the next morning in the neighboring
were open, and several items were missing, including a stereo and Estrada’s
camera and laptop, La Opinión journalists said. The case was
assigned to the state attorney general’s kidnapping unit, and a helicopter
search was conducted in outlying areas.
relatives told CPJ that the reporter had a dispute in January 2008 with a
Federal Investigations Agency (AFI) officer they knew only as “El Diablo” (The
Devil). “The day he had that fight with the AFI agent, he came home
shaking,” Estrada’s wife, María Dolores Barajas, told CPJ. A spokeswoman
for the federal attorney general’s office, which briefly took control of the
case, said investigators could not identify any AFI agent known as “El Diablo”
or make a connection between Estrada’s disappearance and a federal
said that she considers her husband dead and that she has requested a death
certificate from local authorities. Víctor Arredondo, a spokesman for the state
attorney general, said that a death certificate would not be issued because the
case might someday be reopened.