Mexican priest killed in central state of Michoacan

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican priest was found murdered in the central state of Michoacan, the state attorney general said on Sunday, the third to be killed in the country in less than a week.

The priest in Michoacan, identified as Jose Alfredo Lopez Guillen, was found on a highway between Puruandiro and Zinaparo, the state attorney general’s office said.

Autopsy results, which revealed gunshot wounds to be the cause of death, suggested the priest was killed five days before his body was found, the office said.

The murder comes after a decade of drug violence in Mexico that has frequently touched the Roman Catholic church, with 31 priests killed in the 10 years to 2015, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a rights group.

On Sunday, the state attorney general´s office said no ransom calls had been made after Lopez was reported missing earlier in the week. His body was identified by relatives.

The killing came days after two other priests, identified as Alejo Jimenez and Jose Juarez, were abducted violently from their church in the city of Poza Rica and found dead in the Gulf state of Veracruz.

Some priests in the world’s second-biggest Catholic country have denounced the violence of drug gangs.

Reporting by Natalie Schachar; Editing by Robert Birsel