Back on the trail

Erich Schlegel, left, with Tracey Eaton

Erich Schlegel, left, with Tracey Eaton

Today is my first day back to school at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. I teach two classes this afternoon: Reporting II and Photojournalism I.
During the winter break, I dug out some old photos taken while I was a correspondent with the Dallas Morning News. I need these things, of course, to show students that, yes, was a full-time journalist in my past life.
Nowadays, I spend most of my time teaching and do only occasional freelancing – quite a change from my foreign correspondent days.
The photo above shows Erich Schlegel and I during a trip we took to learn more about what happened to Philip True, an American journalist murdered in Mexico in December 1998. I don’t know why we’re smiling. It wasn’t a happy occasion. True was a friend and colleague in Mexico City and he had been killed.
Mexican authorities arrested two men in the case: Juan Chivarra de la Cruz and his brother-in-law Miguel Hernández de la Cruz.
They lived in a tiny village called Yoata, home to 24 people, most related by blood or marriage. I wrote:

The village has no electricity, no TVs and no running water. It is accessible by foot, horse or mule and is a grueling trek from the nearest dirt road.

Tracey Eaton, left, interviewing the two suspects arrested in the murder of Philip True. Photo: Erich Schlegel.

Tracey Eaton, left, interviewing the two suspects arrested in the murder of Philip True. Photo: Erich Schlegel.

In an interview, Mr. Chivarra said he was vaccinating cattle when Mr. True appeared, asking for directions to another village.
“I was coming down a trail when I saw him. He was on a mule trail, not an Indian trail. He said he liked walking there,” Mr. Chivarra said. “I got scared. He was carrying a big backpack. I thought he was probably going to kill me.”
Mr. Chivarra said the reporter went on his way, and that was the last he saw of him.
“I didn’t kill him,” said the suspect, denying that he ever confessed. “I want to leave this jail.”
1-img028Mr. Hernandez sat nearby, atop a barrel, glancing around nervously, wringing his sweat-drenched palms. Asked about his purported confession, he stared at the ground, finally mumbling a few words: “I don’t remember anything.”

See the full story here.

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