The United Nations agency tasked with defending the free press has joined other human rights groups in condemning the murder of a journalist in Texas.
Jacinto “Jay” Torres had been a long-time Spanish language journalist in the Dallas area. His body was found by authorities earlier this month in Garland. According to Garland Police, Torres, 57, had been murdered days before his body was found. The journalist had been shot to death.
Torres had been working for more than 20 years for La Estrella, the Spanish-language publication of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In recent years, Torres had gone into real estate but continued to write for La Estrella on a freelance basis.
In response to the murder, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization issued a statement condemning the case. “I call on the authorities to investigate this killing and its motives so that those responsible for it be brought to trial,” Bokova’ said in the prepared statement.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Torres’ sons said that he had begun to work on riskier stories involving human trafficking and illegal immigration. Due to the nature of the stories, Torres had begun to inquire about security systems at his house and other measures.
“We urge authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder of Jay Torres, including whether his journalistic work was the motive for his death,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas.
Torres was born in Monterrey, Mexico, but immigrated to the U.S. in 1979. He was an active member of the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Killings of journalists in the United States are relatively rare. However, at least seven journalists have been killed in the country in direct relation to their work since CPJ began documenting cases in 1992.