Zane Plemmons disappeared in May 2012 in Mexico. Plemmons was a journalist who was known for visiting dangerous locations for his job.

His disappearance remains unsolved. At the time of his disappearance, Plemmons was covering a shootout between two rival drug cartels. While most assume Plemmons was sadly caught up in the shootout, this may not be the case.

This article takes a look at this disappearance. There is a poll for our readers at the bottom of the article, asking which theory you believe to be the most accurate, which we would encourage you to vote on.

Plemmons was known for covering dangerous areas


Zane Plemmons was born in Mexico in 1982. In his childhood he lived close to the US-Mexico border. Plemmons attended school in Texas and would later study at the University of Texas.

By his mid-20s, Plemmons was working as a freelance journalist – providing stories for a range of local news outlets. Plemmons covered numerous stories for these newspapers.

However, he had a penchant for covering dangerous events. In 2010, gunmen left blood outside the Plemmons residence and attacked the office of one of the newspapers he wrote for following one particular report.

After living in Texas for a few years, Plemmons moved south of the border – returning near to where he was born. He extensively covered the notorious Mexican drug war – which is characterised by several cartels fighting for power of the illegal – yet lucrative – drugs trade.

Plemmons was working for the El Debate newspaper in Sinaloa, Mexico at the time of his disappearance. The Mexican state of Sinaloa has for many years been a hotbed of cartel activity.

The Disappearance

In May 2012, Plemmons was staying at the Hotel Alamada in Nuevo Laredo – which is close to the Mexican-US border. Plemmons went to cover a nearby shooting in the area.

The dangerous cartel Los Zetas were known to have a presence in the area and are believed to be involved in the shooting that Plemmons went to report on.

However, Plemmons never returned to the hotel and it is unknown whether or not he made it to the site of the shooting. If he did make it there, it is unknown what happened to him.

Plemmons was due to visit relatives in the area the following day but failed to arrive. The journalist has not been seen since May 2012, with his disappearance a mystery.

The Investigation

After failing to arrive, his relatives reported Plemmons as missing. The Police conducted an investigation. However, due to the influence of the cartels in the area, it proved to be very challenging to investigate the disappearance.

Nuevo Laredo is seen as a battleground and key area for cartels due to its close proximity to the US border. Multiple cartels have fought for control in the area, with the Police in some cases powerless to assist.

The Police questioned hotel employees, who revealed that two anonymous masked men came to pick up the belongings of Plemmons at 3am on the night of his disappearance.

Other than that, there was no news on Plemmons. His bank accounts were untouched in the weeks after his disappearance. There were no reported sightings of him either.

The Police were unfortunately unable to find any sign of Plemmons. Police informants within the cartels were also unable to provide any answers. While the case wasn’t ever formally closed, the Police were unable to find where Plemmons was.

Later Developments

Prior to Plemmons’ disappearance, many journalists had been killed in Mexico. Many have labelled Mexico as the most dangerous place in the Americas for journalists to work, owing to the influence of the cartels.

Around the time of Plemmons’ disappearance and increasingly in recent years, news outlets have largely stopped reporting on the Mexican drug war. This is due to the dangers involved. Therefore, while this may not be of much consolation, Plemmons’ disappearance may have inadvertently helped to save many lives.

The Plemmons family organised a candlelit vigil for Zane Plemmons in 2012. The vigil – in the car park of the Westover Hills Church – had around 80 people visiting to support Plemmons. For his family, hope remains that one day he will reappear.

In recent years there has been no news on Plemmons. Unfortunately, as over a decade has passed since he vanished, there is little hope that he will ever be found.

The disappearance has shone a light on some of the darkest parts of Mexico


There are two main theories that have been put forward to explain the disappearance of Plemmons. Either of these theories may be accurate.

We take a look at the evidence for the two theories:

Theory One: Zane Plemmons was killed by the cartel

The most obvious theory points towards Plemmons being killed by one of the cartels operating in the area. The cartels are ruthless, as so many people have sadly found out.

Murders by cartel members are common. Therefore, having someone like Plemmons reporting on their misdeeds could be very damaging. The chances are that a member of a cartel killed Plemmons to keep him quiet and act as a deterrent to other journalists.

Plemmons was also heading to a shooting, which was clearly a dangerous location to be in. Even if he wasn’t killed intentionally, he could easily have been caught up in the crossfire.

It also seems likely that he had been watched for some time. The two masked men who came to collect his belongings appeared to know where he was staying. It might have been a targeted hit.

The cartel presumably disposed of his body, explaining why it has never been found. Unfortunately, there is very little to refute this theory.

Theory Two: Zane Plemmons is in witness protection

There is a chance that Plemmons is alive and living under a pseudonym as part of being in witness protection. Perhaps Plemmons found something at the shootout that resulted in him reporting something to the authorities.

Knowing the seriousness of what had been found, the Police may have then arranged for Plemmons to be in witness protection so that he would be protected from the cartel. Maybe those two masked men that collected his belongings did so to reunite him with his possessions.

This would mean Plemmons is still alive. While he would seemingly be living a quieter life, the important thing is that if this theory proved accurate, he would not be dead.

However, given the high profile effort from the Plemmons family to find him, it seems unlikely that this is true. It also seems like a rather far-fetched idea – though there is always a chance that this is correct.

Reader Vote

With the above theories discussed in detail, we now invite you to vote on the theory that you believe is the most accurate in the below poll.

What Happened to Zane Plemmons?


Zane Plemmons would have known the risks in visiting a cartel hotspot, but due to his dedication to his job, he went anyway. Unfortunately for Plemmons, it appears to have cost him his life.

His family remains hopeful that he will one day turn up alive. But as the years pass by this is seemingly becoming less likelier.

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