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Journalist covering human trafficking murdered in Texas

Jacinto Hernández Torres was a frequent contributor to La Estrella, the Spanish-language publication of Fort Worth newspaper Star-Telegram. His children told the press that recently he had been working on sensitive stories and that they believe there may be a connection between his reporting and his murder.

PEN International/PEN America

This statement was originally published on pen-international.org on 21 June 2016.

The horrifying murder of Texas journalist Jacinto Hernández Torres requires a prompt police investigation, including into allegations that he was killed due to his journalistic activities, said PEN International and PEN America today.

Jacinto Hernández Torres, known as Jay Torres, was found dead on June 13 from a gunshot wound in Garland, Texas. On June 15, the Garland Police stated that it was treating the death as a homicide. Torres, a 57-year-old reporter and photographer, was for nearly 20 years a frequent contributor to La Estrella, the Spanish-language publication of Fort Worth newspaper Star-Telegram. His children, Aline and Gibrán, told the press that recently he had been working on sensitive stories involving human trafficking and illegal immigration, and that they believe there may be a connection between his reporting and his murder. Torres also worked in real estate, and his body was found on the back patio of a house in which he was considering investing.

“PEN expresses its sincere condolences to Jay Torres' family in the wake of this horrible crime,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America. “In a country where most journalists are able to work in relative safety, the circumstances of this murder and its possible relation to Torres' reporting demand a swift and thorough investigation.”

Torres was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and migrated to the USA in 1979. He was a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

“It is tragic that Jay Torres, despite leaving Mexico almost 40 years ago, has met the same fate as so many journalists from his home country,” said Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International. “We urge the US authorities to conduct an immediate inquest into this killing and bring the perpetrators – both triggermen and masterminds – to justice.”

At least 77 print and internet journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2004, according to PEN International research, while another 11 have disappeared. Around 90 per cent of these cases remain unresolved.

For more information please contact: [email protected] | t. +44 (0)20 7405 0338

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