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Nicaraguan president urges swift investigation of diplomat's death

By the CNN Wire Staff
Authorities are trying to determine whether Cesar Mercado's death was a homicide or suicide.
Authorities are trying to determine whether Cesar Mercado's death was a homicide or suicide.
  • Ortega says a quick investigation will allow the diplomat to be buried in his birthplace
  • Authorities have not said whether Cesar Mercado's death was a homicide or a suicide
  • Police are analyzing fingerprints found in blood in his apartment

(CNN) -- Nicaragua's president is calling on U.S. authorities to investigate the death of a Nicaraguan diplomat as quickly as possible so his body can be returned home.

Cesar Mercado, the consul of Nicaragua in New York, was found with his throat slashed in his apartment in the Bronx last week.

"We are asking for an investigation in the United States as soon as possible, to be able bring our fallen brother back to his birthplace ... for a Christian burial," President Daniel Ortega said at an event in Nicaragua's capital Saturday.

Authorities have not said whether Mercado's death was a homicide or a suicide.

Video: NYPD: Diplomat found dead, throat slashed

"The investigation is ongoing, and a final determination has not been reached," Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department, told CNN Saturday.

Mercado also suffered 12 stab wounds in the stomach, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday.

Kelly described a "hesitation wound" in Mercado's neck, one that was not delivered in a single motion. That indicates the wound could have been self-inflicted, Kelly told reporters.

"The medical examiner has not determined whether or not this was a homicide," he said. "If in fact there is a wound from an assailant, it is generally more direct and in one motion."

Police found a 12-inch steak knife beside a blood-filled bathroom sink and a second knife -- a 4- to 6-inch paring knife -- in the sink.

"There is a lot of blood in the apartment," he said, adding that police were analyzing fingerprints found in the blood.

He said the autopsy on Mercado is complete and human hair was found in both of his hands -- 10 strands in the right hand and five in the left. It's not yet known whose hair it was.

Police have found no evidence of forced entry or robbery. Security video cameras in the building were not working, Kelly said.

Mercado, 34, was last seen alive Wednesday.

His body was found just inside the door of a small, sixth-floor studio apartment in the Bronx on Thursday morning by a driver who had taken him to the United Nations the day before, Kelly said.

CNN's Susan Candiotti and Marcia Biggs contributed to this report.