April 28, 2012, in Xalapa, Mexico
Martínez' body was found in her home in Xalapa, the capital of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, news reports said. She had been badly beaten around the face and ribs and had been strangled to death, according to news reports. The state attorney general, Amadeo Flores Espinoza, said in a news briefing that it appeared her TV, cellphones, and computer had been stolen.
Martínez had worked for the national magazine Proceso for more than 10 years and was known for her in-depth reporting on drug cartels and the links between organized crime and government officials. In the week before her murder, she covered the arrest of an allegedly high-ranking leader of the Zetas; the arrests of nine police officers charged with working for a cartel; and the story of a local mayor who was arrested with other alleged cartel gunmen after a shootout with the Mexican Army, according to news reports.
Martínez' colleagues said she had not told them about any threats prior to her death. Two days after the murder, a state spokesperson, Gina Domínguez, said that authorities would look into Martínez' journalism as a possible motive. Investigators have not ruled out personal motives or theft.
The office of the state governor, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, said he had ordered a special group of agents to investigate the murder. Proceso stated on its website that the state government had granted the magazine staff access to any information resulting from the investigation. The magazine also said that its executives had told the governor they were skeptical that the investigation would succeed because of the systemic dysfunction in the country.
In November 2012, the state attorney general announced that Jorge Antonio Hernández Silva had confessed and that robbery was the motive. But in his first court appearance, Hernández claimed he had been tortured and his family threatened if he did not make a false confession. Hernández was convicted in April 2013 and sentenced to 38 years in prison, but four months later judges voted to vacate the sentence, citing irregularities.
Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.
- Mexican press fails to question Martínez murder case, April 30, 2013
- Officials, journalists cast doubt on Veracruz murder case, November 2, 2012
- Body of Mexican journalist found beaten, strangled, April 30, 2012