Mexican journalist Killed hours after publishing a story about the involvement of local officials in the disappearance of 43 students in 2014
A journalist was shot dead Monday afternoon in southern Mexico, authorities said, shortly after posting online about the disappearance eight years ago of 43 students from a nearby area.
Fredid Roman, who published his work on various social media pages and contributed to a local newspaper, was found dead in his car in the city of Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state, the local prosecutor's office said Monday evening.
The Disappearance of the 43 Students
The case of the 43 students from Guerrero, who went missing in 2014 after commandeering a bus to head to a protest, is considered one of the worst human rights disasters in Mexican history.
In September 2014, the students, from a teacher's college in Guerrero, were traveling in two buses they had commandeered to stage a protest in Iguala, a city two hours away by car, as reported by CNN.
Sometime between the night of September 26, 2014 and the following morning, the buses were intercepted by local police and the federal military forces in Iguala, according to authorities at the time. The bullet-riddled buses could later be seen in the city's streets.
The windows were shattered from the bullets and there was blood everywhere. And 43 students were missing. Other students who were on the buses later reported a night of horror. Armed police and soldiers stopped the buses and suddenly opened fire, they said.
It is not yet known what happened to the students, but government investigations revealed that 43 of the students were taken into custody and turned over to the local drug cartel Guerreros Unidos ("United Warriors") and likely killed. Only the remains of three students were found and identified.
"There is no evidence that they are still alive," Mexican Human Rights Commission Deputy Director Alejandro Encinas said of the missing students. "On the contrary, all testimonies and evidence indicate that they were killed in an insidious manner and have disappeared."
'State Crime Without Charging the Boss'
The case was forced back into the spotlight last week when a truth commission branded the atrocity a "state-sponsored crime" that involved agents of various institutions. Roman was the founder and editor of La Realidad de Guerrero, a news page reporting on local events.
A few hours before his death, Roman published a long Facebook post titled "State Crime Without Charging the Boss," in which he mentioned an alleged meeting between four officials at the time of the students' disappearance, including former attorney general Jesus Murillo Karam.
Murillo Karam, who oversaw the cover-up of the students' disappearance, was arrested after the publication of the truth commission report last week, while dozens of warrants were issued for suspects including military personnel, police officers and cartel members.
Roman was the 15th Journalist Killed in Mexico This Year
Roman's murder adds to a record 15 journalists murdered in Mexico this year, according to some local news outlets. According to Reporters Without Borders, Mexico ranks as the most dangerous country for reporters outside of war zones, with 150 journalists murdered since 2000.
Roman was murdered just a week after independent journalist Juan ArjÃ³n LÃ³pez was found slain in the northern border state of Sonora, across the border from Yuma, Arizona. The area of Sonora where his body was found, San Luis Rio Colorado, has been shaken by drug cartel violence in recent years.
Mexican journalists have been targeted by drug cartels and other members of organized crime, as well as small-town officials and politically motivated elected officials. Independent journalists and reporters who run small news outlets often face the greatest danger.
In early August, another journalist was killed along with three others inside a beer shop in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. However, it is unclear if she was targeted for being a member of the press or another reason.