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Kidnapped journalist's body found in Sinaloa

(CEPET/IFEX) - The body of journalist José Luis Romero was found early on the morning of 16 January 2010, 17 days after he was kidnapped. Romero reported on the police beat for the radio news programme "Línea Directa", broadcast by Radio Sistema del Noroeste. He and former military officer Eliud Lorenzo Patiño were kidnapped on 30 December 2009 by armed individuals in the city of Los Mochis, Sinaloa (northwestern Mexico). Patiño is still missing.

On 16 January, at approximately 1:30 a.m., an anonymous call alerted authorities to a bag containing a body found on the Los Mochis-El Fuerte road, near the village of Mochicahui. The caller said it was the body of journalist José Luis Romero.

Police officers and investigators followed the caller's tip to the location to identify the body, which was found in four plastic bags on the side of the road. Traces of soil were found on the body, suggesting that it was first buried, then dug up to make it easier to find.

Ramón Ignacio Rodrigo Castro, the deputy prosecutor in the northern area of the state, said that, according to the preliminary investigation, Romero had been dead for at least 15 days before his remains were found. Bullet wounds were found in his head and chest, as well as signs of torture, including fractures to his skull and legs and wounds on his hands.

The discovery of Romero's body came less than 24 hours after a banner was hung on a bridge at the northern entrance to Los Mochis, apparently giving clues as to the whereabouts of the journalist. Part of the message read: "They are giving back José Luis Romero (journalist). Army: look for him at Plan del Río, Guasave".

Members of the Mexican Army's 89th Infantry Battalion interviewed residents and searched some homes in the communities of Plan de Río and Ranchito de Castro, in Guasave, in an attempt to locate Romero.

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