About two weeks ago, 29-year-old Leonardo Avendaño went missing in Mexico City. He worked as a deacon at the Cristo Salvador Church, and the church’s priest, Francisco Javier Bautista Ávalos (below), told Avendaño’s family next day that the young man had disappeared.
Avendaño was found dead in his truck the next day. There were signs of “torture and asphyxiation.” Bautista conducted the funeral, eulogizing his former colleague and longing for the culprit to be brought to justice:
“We are sad, but at the same time, we have faith, and it gives us strength to know that he is with God,” said Bautista at the service.
That eulogy seems especially disturbing in hindsight, because law enforcement officials now suspect Bautista was the killer.
As the story goes, Avendaño met up with Bautista at the church that fateful night and a camera shows them driving off together just hours before Avendaño was killed. Authorities have now tracked down Bautista, who apparently tried leaving the country, and the suspect is under arrest.
… after interviewing the priest, police began noting inconsistencies in his testimony, and after revising messages on Avendaño’s cellphone discovered that the two had met the night Avendaño went missing. Police began searching for the priest on June 16.
Today [June 20], a judge ordered that he be held in preventative custody.
Why would the priest kill the young man?
Avendaño’s family believes the two were lovers — an act which is forbidden by the Catholic Church — and Bautista feared he would go public with that information. There’s another theory that the asphyxiation was the result of a sexual kink that Bautista was trying to satisfy for his partner, and unfortunately, he just went too far. (One reason authorities suspect that is because the body showed no signs of a struggle.)
Either way, it’s a disturbing story with a twist that’s arguably even more shocking.