Fort Worth Journalist's Murder, If Job Related, Would Be a Stateside Rarity

Local police and federal agencies are investigating the murder of Jacinto Hernández Torres, better known under his byline, Jay Torres. Torres worked for more than 20 years at La Estrella, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Spanish language sister paper. Someone shot the reporter dead, police believe, a few days before June 13. That day, he was found in the backyard of a Garland rental property he'd been considering purchasing. In the two weeks since the killing, Garland police have found very little information about what could've led to Torres' death.

At the time of his death, according to a statement from La Estrella editor Juan Antonio Ramos, Torres was working on a story about recent Mexican immigrants working in the construction business. The Torres family has said that Garland police are looking into Torres' notebooks in an attempt to discover if his murder might be linked to his work as a journalist.

The Committee to Protect Journalists believes this might be a possibility. "We urge authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder of Jay Torres, including whether his journalistic work was the motive for his death," Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas, said in a press release. The CPJ is including Torres on its tally of journalists killed because of their work for now, listing his case as having an unconfirmed motive.

If it is confirmed that he was killed due to his job as a reporter, Torres would be the either the eighth or ninth journalist killed in the United States because of his or her work since the CPJ began keeping track in 1992. The most recent victims on the list, other than Torres, are Adam Ward and Alison Parker, broadcast journalists shot on camera by a former co-worker last August.

In other parts of the world, journalists are killed far more often in the line of duty. Iraq has seen the most journalists murdered as part of their job since 1992 with 174. Closer to home, 36 journalists have been killed in Mexico over the same period.

Garland Police announced Monday that they were bringing in federal agencies — the FBI, U.S. Marshall’s Office and the U. S. Secret Service — to help with the ongoing investigation. So far, Garland Police Department Public Information Officer Pedro Barineau told the Observer on Wednesday, the department doesn't have anything new to report about the investigation.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young