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Tuesday, December 4, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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New violence against Mexican performers

Los Angeles Times

MEXICO CITY — Authorities recovered the strangled body of a popular grupera singer Monday, just two days after the slaying of another grupera singer in her hospital bed, officials said.

Sergio Gomez, lead singer for the group K-Paz de la Sierra, had been kidnapped in the southern state of Michoacan late Saturday and had been missing for two days before officials found his body. Zayda Peña was killed in her hospital bed in the border city of Matamoros on Saturday, hours after surviving an assault.

At least seven other performers of the grupera genre, a form of folk music that blends norteño and tropical rhythms, have been killed over the past 18 months. Some groups in the genre sing songs associated with drug trafficking, but Gomez and Peña are better known as singers of romantic ballads.

Peña, 28, headed the group Zayda y Los Culpables (Zayda and the Guilty Ones). She was first shot Friday night in a Matamoros hotel, along with a friend and the hotel manager. The others died at the scene.

With a gunshot wound to the back, Peña was taken to a hospital. She was operated on, then taken to a room in the intensive-care unit. An assailant then entered the room and shot her twice in the face, killing her, according to news reports.

Gomez had just performed with his group in Morelia, the capital of Michocan, when he disappeared. The day before, he had received phone calls warning him not to appear at the concert, according to news reports.

After leaving the concert, Gomez was kidnapped.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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