A TV reporter has been found raped and murdered after investigating corruption involving EU cash in what campaigners have said is a “warning”.
Viktoria Marinova, 30, was found dead suffering horrific injuries in the northern Bulgarian town of Ruse, local media reported.
Her boy was found dumped in a public park near the River Danube.
The reporter had been raped, hit repeatedly in the head and then strangled in the horrific attack.
Cops confirmed her mobile phone, glasses, car keys and some clothes of her clothes were missing.
Marinova had been investigating alleged fraud into EU-funded infrastructure projects linked to the authorities and big businesses.
Bivol.bg owner Asen Yordanov said he had received credible information his journalists were in danger of being assaulted because of the investigation.
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.”
Ms Marinova is the third European journalist to be killed in the past year.
“It is about rape and murder”
Interior minister Mladen Marinov
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov: “I am convinced it is a matter of time before the murder would be revealed.
“The best criminologists were sent to Ruse, let’s not press them.
“A large amount of DNA had been obtained.”
Marinova was a board member for television station TVN based in Ruse.
Interior minister Mladen Marinov insisted at a press conference there was no reason to suggest the murder was connected to her work on TV.
He said: “It is about rape and murder.”
Police continue to probe the death, with more details expected to emerge in the coming days.
Prosecutors are probing both “personal and professional” leads in the investigation into her death.
TVN said in a statement: ”With great pain and insurmountable grief the TVN team is experiencing the loss of our beloved colleague Victoria Marinova.
“We pray for sympathy to the sorrow of her relatives and colleagues.”
Bulgaria is ranked 111 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom – lower than any other state in the EU.
Hundreds of journalists protested against government threats against the nations biggest broadcasters – with deputy prime minister Valeri Simonov accusing them of leading a “smear campaign”.