Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova was found murdered in a park in Ruse city, Reuters reported on Monday. The report quoted Interior Minister Mladen Marinov as saying that the case was one of “rape and murder”. Bulgarian police have detained a Romanian citizen of Ukrainian origin in connection with the murder.
“Her death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation, and her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothing were missing,” Ruse regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said. Marinova is the third journalist to be murdered in the European Union in a year.
Authorities have yet to find a motive and said there was no evidence yet to connect her murder to her work. Marinov said there was no information that she had been threatened.
Marinova was reportedly covering an investigation by a group of journalists into alleged corruption involving EU funds.
The minister described the murder as “exceptionally brutal” and said Marinova was raped before she was killed.
Bulgarian media reported that the park where her body was found is adjacent to a psychiatric facility and that authorities were investigating whether a patient could have attacked Marinova, reported The Washington Post.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the “best criminologists” have been sent to Ruse and that a large amount of DNA has been obtained. “I am convinced it is a matter of time before the murder would be revealed,” Borissov said.
“Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption,” said Vice President of the European Union Frans Timmermans. The EU pledged its support to Bulgarian authorities.
United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “very concerned” about Marinova’s murder, reported Al Jazeera.