MORELIA, Mexico Ė The mayor of Nahuatzen, a city in the southwestern Mexican state of Michoacan, was kidnapped and murdered by gunmen on Tuesday, state prosecutors said.
David Otlica Aviles, who ran on the ticket of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and Mexican Green Party (PVEM), took office last September, the Michoacan Attorney Generalís Office said.
Investigators have determined that Otlica Aviles was kidnapped around 3:00 am by several gunmen who showed up at his residence in the community of San Isidro, the AGís office said.
The mayor appears to have been tortured before being killed, AGís office investigators said.
Otlica Avilesís body was found around 9:00 am in a rural area near El Cortijo Viejo, a town located outside the city of Coeneo and about 110 kilometers (68 miles) from Nahuatzen.
Investigators are looking into a conflict between Otlica Aviles and indigenous people living in the community of Sevina who wanted to manage their share of the municipal budget directly.
The Michoacan state government said Otlica Aviles met with Sevina residents a few hours before his killing, but the outcome of the meeting is not known.
Otlica Aviles was never able to fully govern Nahuatzen because indigenous people occupied city hall as part of a protest to demand budget funds.
Indigenous people in the community of Pomacuaran, meanwhile, tried to kidnap Jose Manuel Caballero Estrada, the mayor of the city of Paracho, state officials said.
Paracho is located adjacent to Nahuatzen and Pomacuaran residents are also demanding control over budget funds, state officials said.
Mexico got off to the bloodiest start to a year ever, with a total of 8,493 murders registered in the first quarter of 2019, the highest number of killings since 1997, when the government started keeping murder statistics.
Last year, 33,369 murders were recorded in Mexico, making it the most violent year since 1997.
On Monday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, said he was sticking with his security strategy and vowed that it would yield results this year.