By: E. EDUARDO CASTILLO
The body of a veteran crime reporter was found in an irrigation ditch early Tuesday in the drug-plagued northern Mexican state of Durango, hours after he was kidnapped by gunmen from his home.
Eliseo Barron was abducted by gunmen who barged into his home late Monday in the town of Gomez Palacio, beating the journalist in front of his wife and two daughters, said Ruben Lopez, spokesman of the Durango state prosecutor’s office.
Barron worked 11 years for the newspaper La Opinion de Torreon in the neighboring city of Torreon.
Police made no arrests and had not determined whether his killing was related to his work.
La Opinion’s flagship paper, Milenio, said Barron’s last published article was about local police corruption. The city recently purged its force of 300 officers accused of corruption.
Carlos Lauria of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists called for a vigorous investigation by state and federal authorities.
“We are shocked by the brutal abduction and killing of Eliseo Barron,” Lauria said . “A democracy like Mexico cannot tolerate that a reporter serving the public good by covering crime and corruption is bundled out of his home by hooded gunmen and driven to his death.”
Barron is the second journalist killed in Durango state in less than a month.
On May 4, gunmen shot newspaper columnist Carlos Ortega in the head when he got out of his car in front of his home in the small town of Santa Maria del Oro.
The director of the newspaper where Ortega worked said there was no evidence that the 52-year-old criminal defense lawyer was targeted for his newspaper work. But the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders urged authorities “not to neglect the possibility that (Ortega) was killed because of his articles,” which criticized local government.
Several international media watchdog groups have named Mexico the most dangerous country in the Americas for journalists, especially those covering drug trafficking.
The International Federation of Journalists said at least 10 journalists were killed in Mexico in 2008.