3 men nabbed in Guatemalan anthropologist's death

AP News
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Posted: Jun 10, 2014 5:26 PM
3 men nabbed in Guatemalan anthropologist's death

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemalan authorities on Tuesday detained three men accused of participating in the killing of an anthropologist who documented human rights violations during Guatemala's civil war.

National Police spokesman Pablo Castillo said the men were detained in the slaying of Myrna Mack, who was stabbed to death outside her Guatemala City office in 1990.

Castillo says David Lopez Aguilar, Jose Miguel Gonzales Grijalba and Alberto Encarnacion Barrios Rabanales were arrested in the provinces of Guatemala and Jutiapa.

According to court documents, Lopez Aguilar, a 50-year-old former police officer, was in charge of the initial investigation into Mack's killing. Authorities say Gonzales Grijalba is 49 years old but gave no other information about him or Barrios Rabanales.

The Myrna Mack Foundation, created after Mack's death, said in a statement that the Tuesday arrests are related to the slaying of Jose Merida Escobar, a police investigator who determined the anthropologist's killing had been ordered by the government. Merida Escobar was killed in 1991, shortly after revealing his findings to a court.

Officials didn't respond to requests for comment to explain the foundation's statement.

Not long before her death, Mack had authored a report documenting military human rights abuses against Mayan civilians at the height of the country's 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996.

She was stabbed 27 times by a member of the presidential guard, Sgt. Noel de Jesus Beteta, who is serving a 25-year sentence for the crime. Beteta was convicted in 1993 after a police investigation incriminated him and other military personnel.

In 2002, three high-ranking military officials were tried for their alleged involvement in Mack's death. Only one, Col. Juan Valencia, Beteta's immediate supervisor, was sentenced. He received 30 years in prison.