The editor-in-chief of the Primera Hora newspaper in Nuevo Laredo, a border city in northern Mexico, was beheaded for using social media to report on criminals, prosecutors said.

Maria Elizabeth Macias's decapitated body was found over the weekend, the Tamaulipas state Attorney General's Office said.

The 39-year-old journalist's body was found by police on Saturday in Nuevo Laredo, which lies across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, the AG's office said.

Macias's dismembered body was dumped at the Christopher Columbus Monument on a busy avenue in the border city.

The journalist's legs and trunk were tossed in the grass, while her head was placed on a planter with a computer, mouse, cables, headphones and speakers.

Macias, who signed her postings as "La nena de Laredo" (The Chick from Lareodo), used social-networking sites to report on a criminal organization, the AG's office said.

Two young people were murdered on Sept. 13 and their bodies were left hanging off a pedestrian bridge in Nuevo Laredo for using social-networking Web sites to report criminals.

The bodies of the young man and young woman showed signs of torture, and motorists were the ones who spotted the bodies and called police.

Messages warning others not to use social-networking Web sites to report drug traffickers were left on each of the bodies.

One of the messages was signed "Z," a reference to Los Zetas, which operates along the border with the United States and is considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel.

Mexico has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists in the past few years, and the most dangerous country for members of the media in Latin America, non-governmental organizations say.

Hundreds of journalists and media industry workers took to the streets of Mexico City on Sept. 11 to demand that officials clear up the recent killings of two female reporters and punish those responsible for attacks on journalists.

Journalists have increasingly been targeted in recent years by drug traffickers and other organized crime groups, especially in northern Mexico.

Media members must also contend with long-running abuse at the hands of federal, state and local officials.

Since 2000, more than 70 journalists have been murdered and 13 others have gone missing in Mexico, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico's equivalent of an ombudsman's office, said.

Authorities have not solved any of the cases of the journalists listed as missing since 2005 in Mexico, the Inter American Press Association, or IAPA, said in a report released last November.

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