Cyclists demonstrate in Mexico over the deaths of Polish cyclist Krzystof Chmielewski and German cyclist Holger Hagenbusch. AFP/Getty Images
Two European bicyclists found dead in a ravine in southern Mexico were robbed and murdered, authorities say, despite earlier claims they plunged to their deaths in an accident.
Prosecutor Luis Alberto Sanchez said the bodies of Krzystof Chmielewski, of Poland, and Holger Hagenbusch, of Germany, were found at the bottom of a cliff in Chiapas state, the BBC reported.
Chmielewski, 37, was shot in the head and found on April 26 about 130 feet below the road he’d been traveling on. Hagenbusch, 43, likely died from a head wound sustained during a beating and wasn’t discovered until May 4.
The announcement, on Friday, was the latest report to shock the crime-ridden country.
Last month, Mexican rapper Christian Omar Palma Gutierrez’ confessed to dissolving the bodies of three film students in acid at the behest of a drug cartel. On April 27, about 12,000 people gathered in Guadalajara to protest the murders of the three and the rise in crime.
Most of the victims have been young people. At least 15,516 people between the ages of 13 and 29 are officially missing.
Violent cartel-related murders continue to spike in the nation, which saw over 25,000 killings in 2017, setting an all time record.
In the case of the bike riders, authorities initially blamed the victims, saying they lost control and fell off the cliff. They also claimed there were no signs of foul play.
But after Hagenbusch’s brother went to Mexico to identify his sibling’s body, he learned Chmielewski “was decapitated and had a foot missing,” according to his Facebook post.
Loved ones demanded a deeper investigation.
Mexican authorities now believe the two were attacked on the 19th or 20th of April. They believe the assailants were trying to cover their tracks, but accidentally placed the wrong bike by each victim.
“Those that did this wanted to make it appear like an accident, so they put the bike there, but they made a mistake and used the German’s bike,” said Sanchez on BBC Mundo.
The motive was likely robbery, he said.
Both men were experienced cyclists who each had traveled through dozens of countries by bike and had both been on the road for three to four years.
The two hadn’t been riding together, but happened to be in the same place at the same time.
“We think that they were travelling short distance from each other, maybe one was assaulted first … and then the second one arrived and they were both captured,” Sanchez told BBC.