López's body was found on July 17 in Oaxaca City, the capital of Oaxaca state. A spokesman for the state Attorney General who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity said López had been beaten and shot and that his body was found with that of another man, Arturo Alejandro Franco, who has been identified in news reports as an undercover police informant. Oaxaca City officials said Franco was a city employee. Police said he had been beaten and shot as well.
López, 28, had worked as a reporter for about six years for statewide newspaper El Imparcial, according to local journalists who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal. The sources said López had worked the police beat and had recently published several stories about drug sales in the city.
López also covered police news for "Foro Político," a local radio program on Radiorama station. Sofia Valdivia, who worked at Radiorama and oversaw López's work, said he regularly reported on organized crime and that police were sometimes said to be involved.
Reporters covering the police beat in Mexico are vulnerable to threats from organized crime cartels and from the police who often work for the gangs, CPJ research shows. Organized crime groups in many states control drug production and distribution down the street level and often pay off or terrorize police into ignoring their operations.