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Priest stabbed to death in Mexico church, police say

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: No motive was immediately given
  • NEW: Another priest in the same state was abducted in June
  • The slain priest was found in the church office with bound hands and feet
  • The Rev. Carlos Salvador Wotto had been the parish priest for eight years

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- An 80-year-old Roman Catholic priest was found stabbed to death in his church in the city of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, reported Thursday, citing state police.

The Rev. Carlos Salvador Wotto was found in the church office Wednesday night with several stab wounds and bound hands and feet, CNNMexico reported.

Wotto had been the parish priest at Nuestra Senora de las Nieves (Our Lady of the Snow) for eight years.

State and local authorities were investigating and no motive was immediately given.

Jose Guadalupe Barragan, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Antequera, said church officials would wait for the investigation to end before commenting.

Barragan said there is a shortage of priests in Oaxaca. The national norm is one priest for every 5,000 parishioners, he said, while there are only 140 priests for Oaxaca's 3 million inhabitants. That amounts to one priest for about every 21,400 residents.

Wednesday's homicide was the second recent incident in the state of Oaxaca involving a priest. The Rev. Martin Octavio Garcia Ortiz from the town of San Jose del Progreso was abducted June 19 in a dispute over a local mine. State police rescued Garcia and then arrested him on charges that he was responsible for the deaths of two officials who were shot after an anti-mine rally. Garcia, who said he was tortured by his pro-mining abductors, was hospitalized with head and body injuries.