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Police officer in Juarez burned alive

By Arturo Chacon and Nick Valencia, CNN
updated 7:55 PM EST, Tue December 20, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Witnesses say they saw the policeman writhing in agony
  • He was sprayed with a flammable liquid and set afire
  • Juarez is one of Mexico's most violent cities

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (CNN) -- A policeman in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was burned alive Tuesday by unknown attackers in front of several witnesses who saw him writhing in agony as he died.

The killing was the 33rd of a municipal police officer in Juarez this year and the 59th in the last 15 months, according to the Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office.

Jose Everardo was kidnapped Monday night, according to prosecutors. Witnesses said Everardo was dumped from a vehicle around 8:30 a.m.. His hands and feet bound, his attackers sprayed him with a flammable liquid and set him afire.

A photographer, who did not want to be identified for security reasons, told CNN he was warned not to arrive at the scene "very quickly" because the attackers were still there. In the past, journalists who arrived at crime scenes moments after an attack have faced retribution.

"The body was upside down, burned completely," prosecutors said.

The photographer eventually arrived at the scene and snapped a grisly picture of a charred body, face down in the middle of a Juarez street. The officer appears to still be wearing his police uniform.

A note for the police was left at the crime scene, prosecutors said, but the contents of the note have not been disclosed.

On the Texas border, Juarez is one of Mexico's most violent cities.

It has become a symbol of the brutal realities of the nation's drug war, which has claimed about 43,000 lives since President Felipe Calderon declared a crackdown on cartels in December 2006.

Chacon reported this story from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Valencia wrote the story in Atlanta.

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