Silencer used to kill Mexico photojournalist

2015-09-01 13:25
A photograph of murdered photojournalist Ruben Espinosa sits among flowers in front of his casket inside a funeral home before his wake begins in Mexico City. (Marco Ugarte, AP)

A photograph of murdered photojournalist Ruben Espinosa sits among flowers in front of his casket inside a funeral home before his wake begins in Mexico City. (Marco Ugarte, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mexico City - A silencer was used to kill a Mexican photojournalist and four women last month, a lawyer said, providing new details of a murder that drew a new international call for justice.

Ruben Espinosa, social activist Nadia Vera and three other women were found dead with their hands bound and their bodies bearing signs of torture in a Mexico City apartment on 31 July.

Espinosa, aged 31, and Vera, aged 32, worked in the eastern state of Veracruz but had taken refuge in the country's capital after receiving threats.

The motive behind the killing is under investigation, but press rights groups say the case highlights the threats and violence that journalists face in Mexico, which has become one of the world's most dangerous places for reporters.

New details suggest the multiple homicide was a professional hit job.

Purposeful attempt at causing pain

Karla Micheel, a member of the National Democratic Attorneys Association who represents Vera's family, told AFP that the victims were shot in the head at point-blank range with a 9mm handgun fitted with a silencer.

The gun was "clean," meaning it had not been used in other crimes and was loaded with untraceable bullets, said Micheel, who has seen the investigation's report.

While a fingerprint was found in one room, the killers did not leave any prints on the tape they used to tie the victims, she said.

Forensic reports show that Vera was strangled and stabbed six times, while Espinosa had 12 stab wounds. They were both found in the same room.

"The cuts were not due to resistance or a struggle. The wounds were literally aimed at causing pain," Micheel said.

Rushdie, Cuaron call for justice

The other victims included Mile Virginia Martin, a 29-year-old Colombian, and Yesenia Quiroz, an 18-year-old Mexican. They were both models. A maid, 40-year-old Alejandra Negrete, was also killed.

Mile was sexually assaulted while Quiroz was strangled. They were also shot and found in another room.

Negrete was shot and her body was left in the bathroom.

The investigative reports suggest that the assailants may have used the bathroom or something else to clean up the blood, Micheel said. The killers did not leave any murder weapon behind.

Mexico City authorities detained on Sunday a former police officer in connection with the killing.

Abraham Torres Tranquilino, aged 24, worked as an officer in the capital until 2011, when he was sentenced to almost five years in prison for torture in another crime.

But he only spent one year behind bars.

Another suspect, Daniel Pacheco Gutierrez, was detained on 4 August. He is also a former convict who served time for rape.

Hundreds of writers, filmmakers and journalists published a second open letter to President Enrique Pena Nieto over the case on Monday, urging him to solve the crime and better protect journalists.

British novelist Salman Rushdie and Oscar-winning Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron were among the signatories of the missive published in El Universal newspaper with the front-page headline "They Won't Silence Us."

More than 80 journalists have been killed since 2000, while 17 more have disappeared, according to Reporters Without Borders.

At least 12 reporters have been killed in Veracruz since Governor Javier Duarte took office in 2010.

Read more on:    mexico

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.