Two European cyclists who were recently found dead at the bottom of a ravine in southern Mexico were probably murdered, a special prosecutor of Chiapas said, dismissing an earlier report that it was an accident.
The cyclists — Holger Franz Hagenbusch (pictured: Photo – Holger Franz) of Germany and Krzysztof Chmielewski of Poland — were killed and the motive may be robbery, special prosecutor Luis Alberto Sanchez told media on Friday.
Some of their belongings, including a bicycle and cameras, were missing, Sanchez said.
The mutilated bodies of Chmielewski, 37, and Hagenbusch, 43, were found by police at the foot of a 200 feet gorge along a highway near San Cristobal in Chiapas. Local investigators concluded that the cyclists lost control on the winding mountain road and plunged off a cliff. But fellow cyclists questioned this theory with hard facts.
Sanchez was asked by the authorities to take over the case. Based on the interviews with the fellow cyclists and his own investigation, Sanchez concluded that the two were probably murdered.
Chmielewski had sustained a head injury caused by a blow with a blunt object. Hagenbusch was shot in the head, Sanchez said.
Chmielewski’s body was found on April 26 and Hagenbusch’s on May 4, some 200 metres away from that spot. Hagenbusch went missing on April 20 and Chmielewski made his last call to his family on April 19. Police began the search for the two acting on a complaint by their respective families.
Hagenbusch’s brother Rainer came down to Mexico to identify him. Later, he wrote on his Facebook page that bodies of both cyclists had been mutilated.
“The Polish cyclist was decapitated and had a foot missing,” he wrote.
Sanchez said Chmielewski’s head may have been torn off by wild animals or robbers themselves may have beheaded him.
Investigators say the two cyclists met in San Cristobal last month and decided to travel together to the ancient Mayan ruins at Palenque.
Cyclists in Chiapas staged protests demanding justice for the two victims. They also called for better security on the Ocosingo-San Cristóbal highway.
Members of a cycling club placed a roadside memorial for the two victims along the road above the ravine. The memorial consisted of a white bicycle adorned with flowers and a plaque with personal details of the two cyclists.
Some 25,339 homicides were recorded in Mexico last year. Despite that, tourists keep flocking to the country.