EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican authorities have found the bodies of two Jesuit priests and a tour guide shot to death inside their church Monday in the town of Cerocahui, Chihuahua, Gov. Maru Campos posted on social media.
“I want to share with the Jesuit community that today […] we were able to find and recover the bodies – identified through forensic medicine – of Jesuit priests Javier Campos and Joaquin Mora, and (tourist) guide Pedro Palma,” Campos said in a Facebook video Wednesday afternoon.
The governor said more information would be forthcoming on the crime that has prompted condemnation from Catholic dioceses throughout Mexico.
The news follows the announcement of a $250,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Jose Noriel Portillo Gil, a.k.a. “El Chueco” (The Crooked One), the main suspect in the case.
Portillo is a Sinaloa cartel chieftain operating in the mountains of Western Chihuahua, according to Mexican authorities.
The state Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday linked the killings to the earlier kidnapping of four people, including a child, apparently from a hotel in the town. The child was later released.
Palma, already wounded, showed up at the church where the two Jesuits tried to prevent his assailants from killing him and were murdered for it, according to a statement from the Creel, Chihuahua-based Tarahumara Mountains Diocese.
Portillo and accomplices allegedly loaded the three bodies in a pickup and drove away from the church.
The Chihuahua governor did not hint where the bodies were found or if suspects in the killings and kidnapping are already in custody.