Miguel Morales Estrada, a reporter and photographer based in Poza Rica, in the eastern state of Veracruz, has been missing for the past week. Aged 35, Morales has covered crime for the Diario de Poza Rica daily newspaper since February. He also freelances as a photographer for the Tribuna Papanteca newspaper and the Gobernantes.com news website.
“This brings the number of journalists currently missing since the beginning of this year in Mexico to three,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Morales’ disappearance and those of Federico Manuel García Contreras in San Luis Potosí and Zane Alejandro Plemmons Rosales in Tamaulipas reflect the level of danger to which journalists are exposed in Mexico. We urge the authorities to do everything in their power to find Morales as soon as possible.”
A Diario de Poza Rica representative told Reporters Without Borders that Morales arrived at the newspaper on 19 July, left his photographic equipment with the receptionist and then departed. He did not go home that evening and has not been seen since.
His wife reported his disappearance on 23 July and the Veracruz state attorney-general issued a communiqué the next day announcing that the police had begun an investigation. The Diario de Poza Rica said Morales had told his superiors he was going to take some leave because of “personal problems.” His family said they did not know if he had recently received threats.
Veracruz continues to be the most dangerous state for journalists in Mexico, where the federal authorities have waged a six-year-old offensive against drug trafficking.