September 20, 2007, in Florencia, El Salvador
Sánchez, 38, covered social movements and protests in Florencia, a town four miles (seven kilometers) from the capital, San Salvador, said David Rivas, director of local Radio Mi Gente, for which Sánchez often reported. Protesters had told Sánchez to be careful about his coverage, Rivas told CPJ.
Weeks prior to his death, Sánchez told Rivas that he had received repeated death threats from the local arm of the Salvadoran gang Mara Salvatrucha. Sánchez did not cover gang-related news, colleagues told CPJ. Rivas said the callers did not specify why they were threatening Sánchez.
Salvadoran police arrested José Alfredo Hernández, a member of Mara Salvatrucha, on October 11. During a press conference that day, Héctor Mendoza, deputy director of police investigations, said Hernández had confessed to killing the journalist, whom he believed to be a police informant. Police were looking for two other suspects, the Salvadoran press reported.
Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.