Crime & Justice

Mexican authorities recover bodies of slain priests

Cerocahui, Mexico, Jun 22 (EFE).- The bodies of two Catholic priests and a tour guide murdered here earlier this week were found Wednesday, the governor of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua said.

“Thanks to an extraordinary effort of the state Attorney General’s Office … we have managed to find and recover, and this is confirmed by forensic medicine, the bodies of the Jesuit priests Javier Campos and Joaquin Mora, and of tour guide Pedro Palma,” Maru Campos said in a social media post from Cerocahui.

“We hope to have more information later,” she added.

Campos, 79, and Mora, 80, were slain Monday while trying to protect Palma, who ran into Francisco Xavier Church in Cerocahui to escape armed pursuers.

The assailants killed Palma and the priests and then dragged their bodies out of the church.

The town of around 1,000 people remained under army occupation on Wednesday, with access strictly controlled.

Authorities told Efe that they are in pursuit of Jose Noriel Portillo Gil, alias “El Chueco,” reputed to be the top enforcer for a criminal outfit engaged in a battle with a rival group for control of the territory.

Residents, who were unwilling to be filmed or photographed, said that the slain priests were much loved in Cerocahui.

Chihuahua’s security secretary, Gilberto Loya, told Efe that a search is under way on the ground and from the air.

“I am certain this will be resolved quickly,” he said. EFE ia-lt/dr

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