VERACRUZ, Mexico (AP) — Mexican authorities held 13 police officers for investigation Thursday in the disappearance of kidnapped journalist Moises Sanchez and awaited the results of DNA tests on a body found in the area to determine if it is him.
Those detained represent about a third of the police force of Medellin de Bravo in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz. All 38 of the municipality's officers were brought in to give statements earlier this week.
Prosecutor Luis Angel Bravo said late Wednesday that the 13 can be held for up to 30 days while the investigation is carried out.
Also Thursday, state officials confirmed that the Mexican attorney general's special unit to investigate crimes against journalists had begun its own investigation as requested by Sanchez's family and the country's human rights commission.
Sanchez, whose weekly publication covered local violence and government corruption, was taken from his home in Medellin de Bravo last Friday by armed men. The Inter American Press Association has said he was threatened several times last year
The corpse being examined was one of two that were found in the area in the days after his disappearance.
"The genetic tests will be conclusive in either positive or negative results," Bravo said in the state capital of Xalapa, where he was interviewed by local reporters who blocked a main road for over three hours to protest their colleague's disappearance.
Thursday morning, a group of journalists interrupted the state congress in Xalapa, holding signs that read "Seven days without Moises" and "Legislators, ask the PGR (Federal Prosecutor's Office) to take over crimes against journalists."
Press advocacy groups say Veracruz is one of the most dangerous states in Mexico for reporters. Since 2011, at least three journalists have been killed for their work.