The family of Zoila Márquez Chiu, a journalist with the Linea Informativa news website who disappeared on 7 December, has confirmed that she returned to her home in the central state of Zacatecas on 23 December. She was missing for 17 days.
“We are relieved to learn that Márquez is back with her family,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Officials say she did not suffer any attack but the circumstances of her disappearance are still largely unexplained. It is unusual for a missing person to turn up again in Mexico, where 17 journalists have disappeared it the past decade, two of them this year.”
Márquez’s father, Humberto Márquez Sandoval, said the family was “happy that she is back,” described her as “a bit nervous” but did not explain the reasons for her disappearance.
Línea Informativa editor Omar Hernández said: “It is not up to me to give an explanation for her disappearance and I don’t have one. I think the authorities should be more transparent about the case.”
He nonetheless thanked the authorities for the effort they put into the search for Márquez. He also thanked Reporters Without Borders, Article 19 and the Zacatecas Association of Women Journalists for following the case.
09.12.13 - Woman journalist missing for past two days in Zacatecas
Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities in the north-central state of Zacatecas to do everything possible to locate Zoila Márquez Chiu, a journalist who has been missing since the afternoon of 7 December.
“We hope enough resources are deployed to find Márquez safe and sound as soon as possible,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities must respond to her family’s appeal. There is so far no proof that she has been kidnapped but the police should investigate the possibility that her disappearance is linked to her work.”
Márquez, who works for the Linea Informativa news website, was last seen when she set off by car to a videoclub in Zacatecas, the state capital. The last contact with her was at around 2 p.m. on 7 December. Her car has not been found and no one has claimed responsibility for abducting her or demanded a ransom.
Two other journalists have disappeared this year in Mexico. Sergio Landa Rosado of the Diario Cardel newspaper has been missing sine 22 January and Gerardo Blanquet of Radio Grande de Coahuila has been missing since 30 April.
In all, 18 journalists have disappeared in the past decade in Mexico. There has been one other female victim - María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe , a reporter for the newspaper Cambio in the southwestern state of Michoacán, who has been missing since 11 November 2009.
None of these disappearances has been solved although in some cases there have been indications that they were the work of corrupt police or military personnel.