Mexican priest accused of murder after celebrating victim’s funeral Mass

Catholic News Service

June 20, 2019

By David Agren

A priest in Mexico City has been arrested for murder barely a week after he celebrated a funeral
Mass for the victim.

Father Francisco Javier Bautista was arrested June 19 by Mexico City judicial officials. He was charged with the murder of Hugo Leonardo Avendano Chavez, 29, who had recently graduated with a master’s degree from a Catholic university, worked with Father Bautista at Christ the Savior Parish and had aspirations of entering the priesthood.

The priest, who also served as an exorcist, was ordered held pending trial.

Motives for the slaying were not revealed by Mexico City investigators, though local prosecutor Ernestina Godoy told reporters the case was not a kidnapping, as originally reported.

Avendano was found murdered June 13 in southern Mexico City. Family say he had gone to the Christ the Savior Parish, where he worked, late June 11 and saw Father Bautista.

The two men were spotted together outside the parish, according to footage from surveillance cameras.

The Archdiocese of Mexico City issued a statement June 19, saying it was watching events closely — without naming the priest — and adding it was cooperating with investigators.

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