Updated: Death of Colorado journalist in Mexico City deemed accidental

Update: From Westword:

Update, 2:15 pm: Since I posted the account below concerning the mysterious death of 22-year-old journalist Armando Montaño in Mexico City, his family has received new information from the Associated Press that contradicts many of the details presented in the Mexican press (particularly an article that appeared in La Cronica de Hoy) concerning the investigation. According to the family’s sources, there has been no — repeat, no — official declaration yet that the death was accidental.


By Matthew Orefice

Note: The following is part of a series of posts from students at Swansea University, located in Wales. The students have visiting Colorado State University and learning about America and its media.

Mexican authorities have ruled that the death of Armando Montaño, a 22-year old Colorado journalist, was accidental and not related to his work for the Associated Press, according to a Westword blog. His body was found on June 30 in an elevator shaft in Mexico City, and it was initially speculated that his death was linked to several other violent attacks on journalists in the country, as a result of escalating power struggles between the government and among the country’s drug cartels.

Full details of the circumstances surrounding his death have not yet been released, but Mexico’s attorney general’s office distanced itself from this speculation, stated that their preliminary investigation found that Montaño’s clothing had become caught in elevator machinery in a building near his apartment, and that he sustained fatal injuries in the incident.

Montaño had just graduated from Grinnell College with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and had only been in Mexico City for a few weeks, but still managed to publish several stories under his byline at the AP Bureau, including one concerning a drug-related shootout among Police officers at a Mexican airport. He also had a depth of experience as a journalist, including an internship for the award-winning investigative unit at the Seattle Times, a multimedia reporter for the Colorado Independent, and helped to cover the Iowa caucuses as an intern for the New York Times.

For such a promising young journalist to lose his life in such a tragic way will no doubt resonate through the whole journalistic community, and my wholehearted sympathies go out to his family and colleagues.