Journalist Lourdes Maldonado López was killed in the Mexican border city of Tijuana on Sunday, days after news photographer Margarito Martínez was gunned down at his home there.
According to local news reports, Maldonado was found dead of one gunshot inside a car outside her home.
She had recently won a labor lawsuit against news outlet Primer Sistema de Noticias and its owner, Jaime Bonilla, the former governor of Baja California, the state where Tijuana is located.
Bonilla is a former U.S.-Mexico dual citizen who renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2012 to run for public office in Mexico as an ally of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Since 2012, Bonilla has served as a member in both houses of Mexico’s congress, and as governor of Baja California as a member of López Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement party.
As a U.S. citizen, Bonilla was a member and donor of the Republican Party, and held elected office as a member and director of the Otay Water District in California.
Maldonado in 2019 pleaded for López Obrador’s support at his daily press conference, “Because I fear for my life.”
“I can’t do anything without your help, Mr. President,” she said.
At the time of her murder, Maldonado was under enhanced security vigilance provided by the federal government as part of its program to protect journalists and human rights advocates.
Maldonado last week announced she had won her nine-year case against Bonilla, which could potentially cost his company around half a million pesos, about $25,000, reported Radio Fórmula.
The slaying comes days after Martínez’s assassination, as security conditions in Mexico deteriorate.
Martínez was known as a photographer for national and international press who often covered the intersection of politics and organized crime.
Mexico was ranked at 143 of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders.