Nevith Condés Jaramillo’s body was found on August 24, 2019, with multiple stab wounds on a hill in the city of Tejupilco, according to a statement that the Estado de México state attorney general’s office shared with local and national media. The statement said that the motive for the attack and identity of attackers is unknown and that the attorney general’s office has opened an investigation.
Condés Jaramillo, 42, was the founder and editor of the news website El Observatorio del Sur, and published news articles on his Facebook page and videos on YouTube. He previously worked as a radio show host and reporter for the local station Radio Roca, according to a colleague and friend of the reporter, who asked for anonymity to protect his safety.
The colleague told CPJ on August 26 that there was “no doubt in his mind” that Condés Jaramillo was killed because of his journalism. “I’ve known him for many years as a reporter and a social activist who cared about his community and who did not like injustice,” he said.
On June 18, 2019, Condés Jaramillo was one of the first journalists to report on a helicopter crash near Tejupilco. In a video and Facebook post, the journalist reported that gunmen shot at the pilot of a helicopter that was transporting three women to a hospital. State authorities initially denied that the helicopter was shot at, but later confirmed the shooting, according to other news outlets that reported on the crash.
According to the reporter’s colleague, Condés Jaramillo received threats several days after the crash. The colleague said that Condés Jaramillo did not specify where the threats came from, but that he believed they may have originated from organized crime and been related to Condés Jaramillo’s coverage of the crash.
Condés Jaramillo had previously said members of organized crime and local authorities threatened him, the colleague added. He was unable to provide further details about the threats or to which reports they may have been related.
An official of the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists confirmed to CPJ on August 26 that Condés Jaramillo had reported receiving threats on several occasions. The official, who asked for anonymity to be able to speak on the matter, said that on several occasions Condés Jaramillo reported receiving threats from municipal government officials in Tejupilco. The official declined to provide further details.
According to the official, the mechanism tried to enroll Condés Jaramillo in a federal protection scheme in January 2018 and in June 2019, but the journalist declined to be enrolled.
CPJ was unable to find contact information for relatives of Condés Jaramillo. Several telephone calls CPJ made to the municipal government of Tejupilco and the Estado de México state attorney general’s office between August 25 and September 6, 2019, went unanswered.
Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, who heads the office of the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression, told CPJ on August 26 that his office had not opened an investigation into the murder, as neither the state authorities of Estado de México nor the family of the reporter had asked his office to do so.