Colombian officials announced that the body of Fr. Cesar Dario Pena Garcia, who was killed by the Marxist rebel group FARC in 2004, has been found.
A search team found the priest’s body thanks to tip from former FARC members currently imprisoned, reported the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.
Fr. Garcia’s mother received the news with acceptance and with the peace that her son could finally be laid to rest. The priest's father passed away on May 4 at the age of 74.
Fr. Garcia was born in San Pedro de los Milagros and was ordained in 1988. He was known to be an exemplary priest and served rural communities for over 15 years.
He was sent to the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Osos, Colombia after receiving death threats from Marxist rebels. “He opposed the efforts by the FARC to recruit new members in his area, and therefore they made him a military target,” residents said.
He was kidnapped on March 15, 2004, on his way to celebrate First Communions. Officials believe he was killed soon after.
Both the Colombian bishops’ conference and Pope John Paul II issued calls for his immediate release.
In 2005, a prominent FARC leader was captured and confirmed that Fr. Garcia had been killed.
His remains were taken for DNA analysis and will be turned over to his family for burial.