The rape and murder of a Bulgarian journalist was an “execution” and meant as a warning, according to an investigative website.
Viktoria Marinova’s body was found on Saturday in a park by the River Danube in the northern town of Ruse.
The 30-year-old victim, who had reported on an investigation into alleged corruption involving EU funds, suffered blows to the head and had been suffocated.
Ruse prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothes were missing.
The murder case has shocked fellow journalists and sparked international condemnation.
Ms Marinova had presented a recently relaunched current affairs programme called Detector for the TVN television channel in Ruse.
The first episode, which aired on 30 September, had interviews with investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project.
It was about an investigation into alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.
Officials and the police said there was no evidence to suggest Ms Marinova’s murder was related to her work and there was no information about her being threatened.
But Bivol.bg owner Asen Yordanov said he had received credible information his journalists were in danger of being assaulted because of the investigation that featured on Ms Marinova’s show.
He said: “Viktoria’s death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution. It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning.”
TVN said: “With great pain and insurmountable grief the TVN’s team is experiencing the loss of our beloved colleague Victoria Marinova and we pray for sympathy to the sorrow of her relatives and colleagues.”
Harlem Desir, from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, tweeted: “Shocked by horrific murder of investigative journalist Victoria Marinova in Bulgaria.
“Urgently call for a full and thorough investigation. Those responsible must be held to account.”
Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists said it was “shocked by the barbaric murder”, adding: “Bulgarian authorities must employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible.”
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said a large amount of evidence had been collected – including DNA – and warned “it is just a matter of time before the perpetrator is found”.
Ms Marinova is the third European journalist to be killed in the past year.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative journalist, was killed in a car bombing last October.
Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead in February.
From – SkyNews