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Associated Press intern Armando Montano found dead in Mexico City

Eduardo Verdugo / AP

Armando Montano, 22, poses for an ID photo at the Associated Press office in Mexico City on June 4.

Police in Mexico City are investigating the death of an Associated Press summer intern whose body was found early Saturday in an elevator shaft.

Armando "Mando" Montano, 22, was working as a news intern for the AP in the Mexican capital. His body was found in the elevator shaft of an apartment building near where he was living in the city’s Condesa neighborhood, AP reported.

Montano had been in Mexico City since early June after graduating from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. He was not on assignment at the time of his death, according to the AP. The U.S. Embassy is monitoring Mexican authorities as they investigate the circumstances of his death.

Montano, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a concentration in Latin American studies from Grinnell. During his time with the Associated Press, he covered stories including the saga of nine young elephants from Namibia who wound up on animal reserve in Mexico’s Puebla state, and the shooting of three federal policemen at the Mexico City airport, the AP said.

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

Montano had said he planned to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Barcelona in the fall.  

Montano’s other journalism experience includes reporting for The New York Times, The Colorado Independent, The Seattle Times, and the Scarlet & Black, Grinnell’s College student newspaper.

“Mando was a standout young journalist, with a rare passion and exuberance for life and for people,” Richard Berke, an assistant managing editor at The New York Times, told the AP. “He accomplished so much and touched so many in a short time, and his potential was truly limitless.”

Montano was the recipient of an Ellen Masin Persina Scholarship from the National Press Club in 2008, a Newhouse Scholar with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2008 and a Chips Quinn Scholar from the Freedom Forum for Diversity in 2011, according to the AP. He belonged to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

He was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Colorado, but he lived for two years as a child in Costa Rica and spent time in Argentina and on the U.S.-Mexico border with his family.

Montano is survived by his parents, Diane Alters and Mario Montano, of Colorado Springs, who both teach at Colorado College.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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