The priest, who served at Sacred Heart parish in Saltillo's Aurora neighborhood, had not been seen since Jan. 3. The diocese reported his disappearance Jan. 7 to the attorney general's office of the state of Coahuila.
One of his friends, Friar Víctor Sifuentes Méndez, went to Fr. Hernández' rectory Jan. 3 and found the priest's room in disorder, which was atypical for him. The friar returned to the rectory Jan. 5, and amid the mess noticed Fr. Hernández' suitcase and glasses. Missing were his car, mobile phone, tablet, and computer. Additionally, a neighbor saw two men "getting into the priest's car" Jan. 3 and leaving in the vehicle.
Fr. Hernandez' body was found in Parras de la Fuente, a town 90 miles west of Saltillo, and a homicide investigation has been opened. Two persons have reportedly been detained in connection with the murder.
The priest's car, meanwhile, a white Volkswagen Derby, was found in Santa Catarina, nearly 45 miles northeast of Saltillo, according to La Jornada, a Mexican daily.
The Saltillo diocese's statement recalled Fr. Hernández as someone "who sought perfection in whatever activity he was undertaking," and that the closeness of the people with him "is reflected in the love that the parishioners demonstrated, including these last ten days."
"In Joaquín, they have also taken from us a brother and a son. Rest in peace, Father Joaquín Hernández Sifuentes," the statement concluded.