The Americas

Mexican authorities: Suspect identified in priest killings

  • In this composite image released by the Diocese of Papantla, Mexico on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, photos of priests Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez, left, and Jose Alfredo Juarez de la Cruz are shown with a black mourning ribbon and a Rest in Peace acronym placed between them. Both men were found dead after being abducted on Sunday in the city of Poza Rica on Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz. Their bodies were found dumped by a roadside Monday. A third man who was abducted along with them was later found alive. The area around Poza Rica has been the scene of drug gang violence. (Diocese of Papantla via AP)

    In this composite image released by the Diocese of Papantla, Mexico on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, photos of priests Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez, left, and Jose Alfredo Juarez de la Cruz are shown with a black mourning ribbon and a Rest in Peace acronym placed between them. Both men were found dead after being abducted on Sunday in the city of Poza Rica on Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz. Their bodies were found dumped by a roadside Monday. A third man who was abducted along with them was later found alive. The area around Poza Rica has been the scene of drug gang violence. (Diocese of Papantla via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this composite image released by the Diocese of Papantla, Mexico on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, photos of priests Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez, left, and Jose Alfredo Juarez de la Cruz are shown with a black mourning ribbon and a Rest in Peace acronym placed between them. Both men were found dead after being abducted on Sunday in the city of Poza Rica on Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz. Their bodies were found dumped by a roadside Monday. A third man who was abducted along with them was later found alive. The area around Poza Rica has been the scene of drug gang violence. (Diocese of Papantla via AP)

    In this composite image released by the Diocese of Papantla, Mexico on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, photos of priests Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez, left, and Jose Alfredo Juarez de la Cruz are shown with a black mourning ribbon and a Rest in Peace acronym placed between them. Both men were found dead after being abducted on Sunday in the city of Poza Rica on Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz. Their bodies were found dumped by a roadside Monday. A third man who was abducted along with them was later found alive. The area around Poza Rica has been the scene of drug gang violence. (Diocese of Papantla via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Women light candles in Our Lady of Fatima Church in Poza Rica, Veracruz state, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. Two of the church's priests were found dead on Monday, and were last seen Sunday. The bullet-ridden bodies of the priests were found on a roadside. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

    Women light candles in Our Lady of Fatima Church in Poza Rica, Veracruz state, Mexico, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. Two of the church's priests were found dead on Monday, and were last seen Sunday. The bullet-ridden bodies of the priests were found on a roadside. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in Mexico's Gulf coast state of Veracruz say they have identified a suspect in the killing of two priests.

The state prosecutors' office said late Monday it hopes to file a case soon, but didn't say whether the suspect was in custody or release the suspect's name.

The two priests were found dead Monday, hours after being abducted in the Veracruz city of Poza Rica.

The Catholic Media Center says 28 priests have been killed in Mexico since 2006, not counting this week's slayings. It says Veracruz, Guerrero and Mexico states are the most dangerous.

The U.S. State Department wrote in its 2015 International Religious Freedom report that priests in Mexico are "victims of extortion attempts, death threats, and intimidation by organized criminal groups."