Gregorio Lopez
Priest's body found on Christmas
01:01 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

A priest was found shot in the head in Guerrero state on Christmas Day, his diocese says

He'd been kidnapped a few days earlier by unidentified men, church officials say

Guerrero State is cartel territory where 43 students went missing three months ago

Priests protested on Christmas Eve with signs saying "Ya Basta" ("Enough Already")

CNN  — 

A missing priest in violence-plagued Guerrero state was found dead in an alley on Christmas Day, his diocese said.

The Rev. Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta, who was forced out of his truck and kidnapped by unidentified men days before, had been shot in the head, according to the Diocese of Altamirano.

“We are tired of pain and delinquency, injustice and corruption,” said Bishop Maximino Martinez Miranda. “We want the incidents to be clarified, as well as the death of so many people in Guerrero state. We live in a moment of violence.”

No suspects or motives are known.

“There is a moment when priests come out to reclaim justice for the people, and that perhaps does not please everyone,” the bishop said. “There are many hypotheses. We are leaving this in the hands of the corresponding authorities.”

Guerrero is drug cartel territory. Ciudad Altamirano is about a two-hour drive from Iguala, the city where 43 students from a rural teachers college went missing three months ago.

Authorities believe the students were taken by police in Iguala and turned over to gang members. The gang members killed the students, burned the bodies and dumped some of them them in a river, authorities allege.

Lopez is the second priest from the diocese found dead since September.

Father Ascension Acuna Osorio, whose body was found floating in a river, had been serving in a church an hour’s drive from the Cathedral Altamirano. Authorities are still investigating his death, according to the diocese.

On Christmas Eve, the night before Lopez’s body was found and his death announced by the diocese, fellow priests had held a protest against the violence and called for his release. They carried signs that read “Ya Basta” (“Enough Already”).