Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 25, 2019 / 16:16 pm
Mexico City police have arrested a priest in connection with the murder of a deacon at the priest’s parish, Mexican sources have reported.
Mexico News Daily reported that Fr. Francisco Javier Bautista Ávalos, the parish priest at Cristo Salvador Catholic Church in Tlalpan, Mexico City, was arrested on suspicion of the murder of 29 year-old deacon Hugo Leonardo Avendaño Chávez.
Avendaño had recently graduated from the Intercontinental University in Mexico City and was hoping to resume his studies for the priesthood at the seminary. He disappeared June 11, and was found dead in his truck on June 13 with signs of torture and strangulation, Newsweek reported.
The deacon was last seen on June 11 leaving the church with Bautista. Authorities are currently investigating the cellphone and financial records of Avendaño to try to gain more insight into his murder. They believe he was dead just hours after he disappeared, Mexican sources report.
The brother of Avendaño told Mexican source El Universal that the murder had clearly been planned, and that it was not a crime of passion. He said his brother’s body showed indications of asphyxiation, and that there were signs of torture, including a broken nose and missing teeth.
“Leonardo was a seminarian, he had no problems with anyone, is what most dismays us,” Josue Vincente, Avendaño’s brother, told El Universal.
Bautista celebrated Avendaño’s funeral on June 14.
“We are sad, but at the same time, we have faith, and it gives us strength to know that he is with God,” the priest said at the Mass, according to Mexico News Daily.