AP Intern Armando Montano, 22, Found Dead in Mexico

A young intern working as an aspiring journalist for The Associated Press has been found dead in an elevator in Mexico City, Mexico.

Armando Montano, 22, was found dead Saturday morning in the elevator shaft of an apartment building not far from where he lived in the Condesa neighborhood.

"Armando was a smart, joyful, hardworking and talented young man," said Marjorie Miller, the AP's Latin America editor based in Mexico City.

"He absolutely loved journalism and was soaking up everything he could. In his short time with the AP, he won his way into everyone's hearts with his hard work, his effervescence and his love of the profession," she added.

The cause of Montano's death remains a mystery as an investigation by Mexico's intelligence bureau ensues. The U.S. embassy is monitoring the course of the investigation.

While in Mexico City, Montano followed the developments of nine young Namibian elephants that were transported to an animal reserve in the country's Puebla state, as well as the shooting of three federal policemen at the Mexico City airport, the AP reports.

The Colorado Springs native, who was reportedly gay, had been doing investigative journalism for The Associated Press in Mexico City since last month. He graduated from Grinnell College, a private liberal arts college in Iowa, this past year with a bachelor's degree in Spanish.

Montano previously worked as an investigative journalist intern for The New York Times, where he was asked to cover the Iowa presidency caucuses. He also worked at his local online paper, The Colorado Independent, and served as an editor and writer for his college's paper, the Scarlet & Black.

Motano is survived by his parents, Diane Alters and Mario Montano, who continue to live in Colorado Springs.

Although there is no indication that Montano's death is related to the extreme drug cartel violence plaguing Mexico, it does bring to mind previous cases in which journalists have been killed due to their reporting on the drug wars.

The Wall Street Journal reported in May that at least seven journalists have been killed in the Veracruz region of Mexico in the past 14 months. The Wall Street Journal contends that this intimidation tactic is used by the drug cartels to force silence on journalists, who often reveal incriminating information and names in their coverage of the drug cartel violence.