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Reporter's Death Linked To Vanishing Tourists?
Date December 28, 2029
Author Elisa Gutierrez
Internal Name disappearing_tourists

December 28th, 2029:

Death of Reporter May Be Linked To Disappearance Of Tourists -

(Transcript from Global Newswire video broadcast)

Parque Juarez was the site of media attention and police investigation today, as the body of reporter Orlando Barranco was discovered by park workers shortly after sunrise this morning. Barranco was investigating a string of tourist disappearances within Xalapa over the past six months, and according to colleagues, was brushing up dangerously close to the region's organized crime syndicates. Police have not yet stated if foul play is suspected in the reporter's death.

According to Barranco's research, which has been publicized in recent Newswire broadcasts, Xalapa police have received a total of 21 Missing Persons Reports since March of this year. While some of the individuals have been local residents, the majority have been tourists to Xalapa - or immigrant-workers to the booming technology district just outside the city. Many of the missing persons had been staying at the local Guardian Church hostel, a connection Barranco had made public only days before his death.

Hostel curator and Church Chapter Organizer Malcolm Thomas could not be reached for questioning, but his associate Melinda Bellhurst openly discussed the connection in an on-air interview:

"Why should it be surprising? The hostel is a logical choice for tourists. It's a central location - free accommodation to Guardian Church members, and affordable to non-members. If people are looking for an organization to blame, they should look to Worldview. Everyone knows their presence in Xalapa is dangerous."

She may not be far off. The disappearances began in March with Worldview Industries worker, Kevin Chard. Chard's mother, who came looking for her son shortly after his disappearance, vanished 2 months later. Bellhurst alleges that if police investigate thoroughly, they are likely to find connections between Worldview Industries and all of the 21 missing persons.

Police are only releasing the names of 5 persons at this time who are to be confirmed as being in absentia. Those individuals are as follows: Jane Fallis, a local resident; Kevin Chard, a resident worker; and three tourists to Xalapa - Jessica Chard, Wotjek Liski, and Ace Geas. Investigations into the whereabouts of the remaining 16 individuals are still underway, and police are releasing little other details. Their silence on the matter gives some residents cause for concern.

Local resident, Sophia Vega, commented on the increase of crime in Xalapa in recent years:

"It starts slow, so slow that you don't even realize it is happening. You hear about things like this happening in other cities, other countries. You never think it's going to be the place you grew up in. I hate to say it, but I don't feel safe here anymore. The police are no help, in fact sometimes it feels like they are part of the problem..."

The topic of crime in Xalapa is sure to be on the agenda for the upcoming mayoral election next month. Incumbent mayor Julio Vargas, made a public declaration during a press release last week stating that,

"Xalapa must reclaim its international reputation as a peaceful city, welcoming to its own citizens, and to the travelling citizens of the world."

Some residents, like Vega, say that Xalapa has a long way to go.

From Parque Juarez, this is Elisa Gutierrez reporting.

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