Michoacán state prosecutor-general José Martín Godoy Castro announced at a press conference yesterday that DNA tests had established that the charred body found by police at the side of a road in the municipality of García Zamora on 14 June was Adame’s.
Salvador Adame Pardo was the director of Canal 6 Media TV, a local TV channel, and at the same time one of its presenters. He had had been missing since 18 May, when gunmen kidnapped him in the municipality of Nueva Italia.
Godoy said the police arrested two men on 21 June – Ignacio “El Cenizo” Rentería Andrade and Daniel “El Cabezas” Rubio Ruiz – on suspicion of carrying out Adame’s abduction and murder.
According to the police, the two suspects said that the order to murder Adame and burn his body came from a local gang leader in the Tierra Caliente region known as “El Chano Peña,” whose motives were “personal.”
For the time being, the prosecutor-general’s office shows no sign of investigating any other possible motive. Adame’s family, with whom RSF is in contact, said that irregularities have marred the investigation by the prosecutor-general’s office and that they are seeking a supplementary expert evaluation. RSF supports this request.
“We are appalled to learn that Salvador Adame died in this terrible manner and we offer our support to his family and colleagues,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of the Latin American bureau of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
“As the list of journalists killed in Mexico gets steadily longer and the situation becomes unsustainable, we urge the authorities not to limit the investigation into Adame’s murder and to keep exploring the possibility that it was linked to his work, in order to render justice and to end the impunity that prevails in cases of murdered journalists.”
Co-workers told RSF that Adame was critical of the local authorities and had just accused Nueva Italia’s mayor of embezzlement. In April 2016, the local police hit his wife, Frida Urtiz Martínez, and detained her for several hours when she participated in a protest outside the Nueva Italia town hall and covered the use of force to disperse it.
Four journalists are still missing in Michoacán state: José Antonio García Apac, Mauricio Estrada Zamora, Ramón Ángeles Zalpa and María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe.
The six other journalists who have been murdered so far this year in Mexico are Cecilio Pineda Birto, Miroslava Breach, Maximino Rodríguez, Javier Valdez Cárdenas, Ricardo Monlui and Filiberto Álvarez Landeros.
Mexico is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.