Miguel Ángel López Velasco

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Miguel Ángel López Velasco, 55, a prominent columnist with the Veracruz daily Notiver, his wife, Agustina Solano de López, and their son Misael López Solana, 21, a Notiver photographer, were killed by unidentified assailants who broke into their home around 5:30 a.m., the newspaper reported.

Miguel López, a former deputy editor with Notiver, wrote a column under the pseudonym Milo Vela that addressed politics, security issues, and general interest topics. He was also the editor of the newspaper’s police section, press reports said. Journalists told CPJ the murders could have been retaliation for a recent column about local drug trafficking. Mourning the death of the López family members, Notiver did not publish an edition on June 21, the Mexico City-based daily La Jornada reported.

Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte de Ochoa visited the offices of Notiver and gave a statement to reporters. "Today in a cowardly act, an act that harms all society–because it is not an attack against a medium of communication, it is not even an attack against a professional group, it is an attack against society as a whole, against Veracruz society–they killed our friend Miguel Ángel López Velasco," Duarte said. He promised a full investigation, the Mexico City-based daily Milenio said.

Three days after the murders,Veracruz State Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Pérez announced that investigators had identified the mastermind as Juan Carlos Carranza Saavedra, known as "El Ñaca," the Mexico City daily-based El Universal reported. In a press conference, Escobar said he wouldn’t disclose details of the case, including possible motives, because it might obstruct the investigation, press reports said. The attorney general said the state was offering a reward of more than US$250,000 for information on the case.