Published Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 | 3:03 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 | 3:03 p.m.
COATZACOALCOS, Mexico (AP) — A slain Mexican journalist was found alongside the body of a union leader whose kidnapping he had investigated and that casts doubt on officials' claim the journalist was killed in a personal vendetta, angry colleagues said Wednesday.
Veracruz state authorities said Gregorio Jimenez's body was buried in the backyard of a house in the town of Las Choapas, along with union leader Ernesto Ruiz Guillen's body and the corpse of a taxi driver whose name wasn't released.
Jimenez, a police beat reporter for the daily newspapers Notisur and El Liberal, wrote at least two stories about the disappearance of Ruiz Guillen, who was kidnapped in January during an assembly of Mexico's Workers Confederation.
Jimenez is at least the 12th journalist slain or missing since 2010 in the Gulf coast state.
At least five gunmen kidnapped Jimenez, 42, from his home in the city of Coatzacoalcos last week and drove him away in an SUV.
Veracruz state spokeswoman Gina Dominguez said Wednesday that Jimenez was ordered killed by an acquaintance in a personal vendetta.
She said four men arrested for participating in the killings told investigators that Teresa Hernandez, who owns a cantina in Coatzacoalcos, paid them for kidnapping and killing Jimenez. Hernandez had threatened Jimenez three months ago after her son and his daughter, who had dated, had a falling out, Dominguez told MVS Radio.
Journalists expressed skepticism.
"I don't believe in what the government says because Gregorio was not one to get into fights. He was a kind, humble person," said Elizabeth Avina, who works for the newspaper El Heraldo de Veracruz.
Gregorio Hernandez, another colleague of Jimenez, said the slain reporter often wrote about crime even though his byline didn't appear in his stories.
"There has to be a serious investigation because he often looked into disappearances, crimes and kidnappings," Hernandez said.
Journalists throughout Mexico organized protests since Jimenez disappeared to demand authorities look into his work as a possible motive.
"We want justice. We want authorities in charge of solving the case to take responsibility. We don't want scapegoats," said Victoria Rasgado, a reporter with Diario del Istmo, a Veracruz newspaper.