Tegucigalpa – Honduran police have enlisted the help of foreign investigators who happened to be here for a conference in the search for a radio journalist kidnapped early Wednesday, the office of President Porfirio Lobo said in a statement.
The communique was issued hours after the president voiced solidarity with the family of Alfredo Villatoro and asked for "his prompt release and respect for his life."
Villatoro is "a great journalist, we pray to God and we have faith that everything will work out fine," Lobo said during a Cabinet meeting broadcast on state television.
The journalist, who works for HRN, one of Honduras' leading radio networks, was abducted around 4:45 a.m. while on his way to work.
A police source told Efe that ex-cop Jerson Basilio Godoy, who was dismissed from the force last November, is in custody on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping.
Villatoro was apparently intercepted by six assailants traveling in two vehicles, according to media accounts. His car was found abandoned in Tres Caminos, a residential neighborhood in Tegucigalpa.
HRN said the kidnappers have already made contact with Villatoro's family.
Journalism has become a dangerous occupation in Honduras, where a score of media professionals have been slain in recent years.
The latest victim was Erick Alejandro Martinez, a reporter who was also spokesperson for a gay and lesbian rights organization and a member of the resistance front that arose after the June 2009 overthrow of reformist President Mel Zelaya.
The 32-year-old journalist was found dead Monday in Tegucigalpa.
Honduran reporters reacted to Villatoro's kidnapping by demanding government action to protect journalists and vigorous efforts to find and punish Martinez's killers.