FILE - People walk past a fan shop of Bulgarian TV channel bTV in the capital Sofia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010.
FILE - People walk past a fan shop of Bulgarian TV channel bTV in the capital Sofia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling on the government of Bulgaria to investigate the killing of a popular TV journalist over the weekend.

"CPJ is shocked by the barbaric murder of journalist Victoria Marinova," said CPJ European Union Representative Tom Gibson in Brussels. "Bulgarian authorities must employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible."

The body of the popular Bulgarian TV journalist investigating alleged corruption involving politicians and EU funds was found Saturday in a park in the northern city of Ruse. Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothes were missing.

Police say Marinova, 30, was raped before she was killed.

"Her death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation," Ruse prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said, adding that investigators were able to obtain a lot of DNA evidence.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said there have been no signs linking Marinova's death to her work as a TV investigative journalist.

Another reporter from Marinova's television station also said no one at the station had been threatened.

But the owner of a website involved in the investigation of the alleged corruption, and whose own journalists were interviewed by Marinova, said his group had gotten credible information that there would be trouble.

"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," Asen Yordanov told the French News Agency Sunday.

Marinova worked for the Ruse-based television station TVN and hosted a talk show Detector.

The Reporters Without Borders global index of press freedom rated Bulgaria 111 out of 180 countries in 2018 – the lowest of any EU member.