Sergio Landa Rosado

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Landa, who covers the crime beat for the local daily Diario Cardel, disappeared while working in the city of Cardel on January 23, according to local news reports and Diario Cardel. The newspaper reported his disappearance two days later and his wife filed a report with authorities the following week, but the case only came to the attention of the national media three months later.

On the day of his disappearance, Landa went to the Diario Cardel newsroom and, a few hours later, told another reporter he had to check on something and that he would be right back, the reporter said. He has not been seen since.

That was the first time Landa had gone to the Diario Cardel newsroom since his previous abduction in early December 2012, his colleagues said. Journalists at Diario Cardel told CPJ that the day after reporting on the murder of a taxi driver, two SUVs and a car with men carrying assault rifles came to the newspaper office and took Landa away. The police and a Navy unit gave pursuit, but Landa somehow escaped, although it was not clear exactly how, the reporters said.

Landa’s kidnappers told him while he was being held that he was going to be killed for writing the story about the cab driver, according to the journalist’s colleagues and his wife, Isabel. A fellow reporter, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told CPJ that the armed men also told Landa that the story was the kind that might elicit too much attention.

Another reporter in Cardel said that an organized crime group had moved into the area and was kidnapping and extorting, but did not want its actions covered in the press. The reporter said he thought the murdered cab driver had probably not paid an extortion demand.

After being abducted in December, Landa fled Cardel for a distant city in Veracruz, where he worked for a newspaper affiliated with Diario Cardel, his wife said. He returned home a few weeks later, but stayed in hiding in Cardel until the day of his disappearance.