REYNOSA, Mexico, March 11 (UPI) -- Eight journalists were kidnapped and at least one was killed in northern Mexico in a record wave of abductions, an inter-American press advocacy group said.
Three of the journalists kidnapped between Feb. 18 and March 3 in Raynosa, across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas, have reappeared, the Inter-American Press Association reported.
One of the three was found in a coma, showing "signs of torture," and died at age 49 in a hospital three days later, never regaining consciousness, the group said.
Five other journalists are still missing, it said.
"The Mexican government must act with urgency and decisively to rescue these journalists alive and guarantee freedom of expression," said association President Alejandro Aguirre.
The kidnappings are believed to have been carried out by organized crime and drug gangs, the Miami-based association said.
Friends, colleagues and relatives and of the kidnapped journalists are afraid to give the journalists' names, much less report the kidnappings to authorities, "fearing further reprisals and endangering the lives of the hostages," the association said.
The journalists work for print, radio and other news media outlets.
Mexican state and federal prosecutors had no immediate comment on the report.
Last April Mexican federal police in Raynosa said they found what they called the largest seized weapons cache in Mexican drug cartel history.