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Suspect arrested over abduction and murder of two priests in Mexico

The sister, nieces and nephews of Fr Jose Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz pictured at his funeral (AP)

Mexican authorities have arrested a suspect in the abduction and murder of two Catholic priests in Veracruz state last month.

Mexico City prosecutors say in a Monday statement that the unidentified suspect was detained on October 13 along with another person after they allegedly carjacked a couple in the capital. Investigators later determined the suspect had an arrest warrant for the kidnapping of the priests.

Fr Alejo Nabor Jimenez and Fr Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz were found bound and shot to death at a roadside outside the city of Poza Rica on September 19.

Veracruz state prosecutors have alleged that the clerics were drinking with their killers beforehand. That angered Church leaders who criticised what they called a campaign to smear the victims.

Meanwhile, the heroism of Mexico’s newest saint, St Jose Sanchez del Rio, should embolden the nation’s priests to continue their ministry with trust in God, said Antonio Berumen, the vice postulator, of the young saint’s cause.

For priests in Mexico, especially those who denounce the activity of drug traffickers and find themselves targeted for attacks, the life of St Jose, who was canonised by Pope Francis on Sunday, is a call to place their “full trust in God,” Berumen said.