Martin Licata, 27, used to write for alternative news sites such as Hegemonia, La Batalla Cultural, Kontrainfo and Sudestada, signing under the pen names Martin D’Amico and Yakir, and had reportedly received death threats through social media, and once in person.
He was last seen alive Saturday morning by his family with witnesses saying he entered a hotel with a woman about his age. His companion left the hotel two hours later and his body was found later in the afternoon by the cleaning staff. Police investigations only connected the two cases Wednesday, since Licata had left his bag and IDs at a friend’s house earlier.
The Press Union of Buenos Aires (Sipreba) demanded that prosecutors to take Licata's journalism into account in their investigations, since his essays and news pieces had a critical perspective of Argentine President Macri’s government.
His family and people that knew him suspect his murder to be related to his work — months earlier Licata had been threatened by a group of people in the street.
Licata wrote about issues having to do with Argentina’s most recent and polemic issues, such as abortion and freedom of speech; and used to post images of revolutionary figures like Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Karl Marx on his social media.
In an interview, his sister declared that their mother received a call from Martin’s phone a day after he died, but no sound came through the other side. She then called back, with no answer. Later, she got a text message reading "Eugenia?" and nothing else. His mobile phone was not found at the crime scene.
Local media have reported that the journalist was possibly the victim of sexual fetish games, since his hands were tied with socks and there was a tourniquet around his neck. The same hypothesis has been used to explained the murder cases of Nora Dalmasso and the former Foreign Commerce Deputy Minister Ivan Heyn. In the latter, this was confirmed by the judge in charge of the case.
When the woman left the hotel she told the administration that her partner would leave the room after taking a shower. The police reported that the hotel’s security cameras are used to monitor in real time, but aren't set up to record.