The Morelos attorney general’s office has lost key evidence in the investigation into last week’s murder of indigenous activist Samir Flores Soberanes.
An outspoken leader in the fight against the opening of the Huexca thermal power plant, Flores was shot in the head in front of his home in Amilcingo on February 20.
State Attorney General Uriel Carmona had previously said a poster that contained threats from a crime gang had been found next to Flores’s body, providing evidence that his activism had not been the motive for the killing and that it was organized crime-related.
But yesterday, authorities said the whereabouts of the poster were unknown so it could not be included in the official case file or admitted as evidence.
However, Carmona said the message did indeed exist, and that a police officer at the murder scene had taken a picture of it with his phone.
“The geolocation of the cellphone corresponds to the time and place of the activist’s murder, so the message’s existence is technically accounted for, and we presume that the victim’s own family took it away.”
The attorney general rejected an accusation that his department had invented the message.
Family and friends of the victim told reporters that police did not arrive on the scene until more than an hour after the shooting, and the first to arrive did not see a written message at any point while putting Flores into a vehicle to rush him to the hospital.
Flores was a leader of one of many community organizations that have been vocal about concerns over the impact of the plant’s operations on health, safety and water supply.
Flores is the sixth activist to be murdered in the first two months of 2019.