06/27/12 – A Mexico City based journalist has been missing for over one month and, according to his family disappeared under very suspicious circumstances. Federico Manuel García Contreras, graphic reporter for El Crítico daily newspaper and contributor to the Voces de Mediodía radio program, set out for the San Luis Potosí municipality of Tanquián de Escobedo on May 13 to conduct interviews and develop a story on violence in the region. As reported by Proceso, that same day García had a phone conversation with his wife, Xochitl, in which he confirmed his safe arrival, but also commented that he had a less than friendly encounter with the local police commander, José Alberto Troas Pérez. García told his wife that the commander had denied him permission to carry out any interviews due to “the current climate of violence being experienced in the city.” García also mentioned that Troas threatened to travel to Mexico City and to García’s home to confirm the reporter’s identity and occupation, which may have been more of a bluff to end the conversation than anything. Regardless, the phone call with his wife was the last time any of his family members spoke to the reporter himself.
On May 23, the family was contacted by a friend of Federico García to notify them that Aurora Liz Cano, owner of the Aurora Hostel in which García was staying, had called to report that she had not seen any sign of the reporter in the hostel since May 16, according to El Universal. This news prompted his daughters, Marisol and África, to travel to Tanquián de Escobedo to enquire on the whereabouts of their father.
They first met with Commander Troas who told them that on May 18 their father was arrested after drunkenly intruding on an event organized by a group of teachers. He assured them that he was in custody for only two hours and then released. According to Proceso, he described that a doctor had been sent in to check on García’s state while in detention. The García sisters immediately met with that doctor who described that she had not observed any evidence indicating their father was intoxicated and that she in fact met with him on May 17, not 18.
Marisol García filed a formal report with the Attorney General’s special prosecutor for crimes against journalists (Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos Contra Periodistas) on June 18 and requested that investigators tend to this case in a speedy manner. The case adds to the growing number of cases of crimes against journalists, which has been the topic of discussion of late in Mexico given the high number of journalists killed since April (seven registered), five of which were in the state of Veracruz.