A Catholic priest who disappeared January 3 in Coahuila was found dead yesterday, half buried on a vacant piece of land in the municipality of Parras de la Fuente.
Two men have been arrested for the killing of Joaquín Hernández Sifuentes, 36, parish priest at the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in the community of Aurora, Saltillo, according to Saltillo Bishop Raúl Vera.
The cause of death has not been determined, but the newspaper El Universal reported that there were signs that the victim had been beaten.
Vera said Hernández had been socializing with two young men at his home when an argument broke out, resulting in the priest’s murder.
Neighbors reported that two youngsters took the priest’s vehicle from his home the following morning. The vehicle, a Volkswagen Derby, was found yesterday morning in Santa Catarina, Nuevo León.
Hernández had intended to take a vacation starting January 3, according to church officials, but when a friend went to his home the priest’s suitcase, packing with clothing, was still in the house, along with his glasses.
A cellphone, tablet and computer were missing.
Hernández’ death brings to 16 the number of priests killed in the last four years. At least 31 have been murdered since 2006.
The circumstances of Hernández’ death are similar to those of a Michoacán priest killed last September. Alfredo López Guillén, a parish priest in Puruándiro, was murdered after a falling-out with two soldiers during a social visit in López’ home.