The body of Mexican journalist Moises Sanchez, who was kidnapped three weeks ago, was found in the southern state of Veracruz, authorities said Sunday. Sanchez was reportedly abducted by a group of gunmen from his home on Jan. 2.

Authorities reportedly said that a former police officer confessed to carrying out the crime and alleged that it was done at the request of the town's mayor, Omar Cruz. Sanchez's disappearance had sparked several protests in the region demanding his safe return. Sanchez published a local weekly, “La Union,” which covered reports on local government corruption and also published complaints from local residents.

His body was found Saturday near Medellin de Bravo, about 62 miles from the state capital Xalapa, Veracruz state prosecutor Luis Angel Bravo said, according to The Associated Press.

Sanchez's relatives had claimed that he had received several threats and also pointed at Cruz, who was a frequent target of Sanchez’s reports, as the main suspect in his disappearance.

Bravo reportedly said that the former officer and five other people participated in the crime, allegedly at the request of Cruz who reportedly holds immunity from prosecution as mayor. Bravo said that he would urge the state legislature to withdraw the immunity so that Cruz could be charged, AP reported.

Since Sanchez went missing, authorities had reportedly brought 36 officers of the Medellín de Bravo police department to give statements, and later detained three police officers.

At least 11 journalists have reportedly been killed since December 2010 in Veracruz state.