A special prosecutor now says two cyclists from Germany and Poland who went missing in Mexico were murdered. Authorities had earlier claimed they had ridden off a cliff even though one was decapitated and the other shot.
Investigators in Mexico on Friday said that two European cyclists who were found dead at the bottom of a ravine in southern Mexico were murdered. This contradicts the earlier theory that the men had cycled off a cliff.
Holger Hagenbusch, of Germany, and Krzysztof Chmielewski, of Poland, had been traveling the world by bicycle. But after being reported missing by relatives, they were found dead at the foot of a sheer rock face in the Mexican state of Chiapas at the end of April.
Investigators originally said that the pair appeared to have lost control of their bicycles while on a winding mountain road.
However, after a group of fellow cyclists questioned that version of events, a special prosecutor newly appointed to take over the case said the cyclists had in fact been murdered.
"It may have been an assault, because our investigations up to now indicate this was an intentional homicide," special prosecutor Luis Alberto Sanchez told journalists. He added that the motive appeared to have been robbery.
According to Sanchez, Chmielewski sustained a head injury that may be a gunshot wound.
Hagenbusch's brother Rainer, flew to Mexico to identify him and wrote on his Facebook page that both bodies had been mutilated. "The Polish cyclist was decapitated and had a foot missing," he added.
Violence in Mexico
The Chiapas state government has vowed to "intensify the investigation" to solve the case. Investigators say the two cyclists met in the town of San Cristobal de las Casas on April 20 and decided to travel together to the ancient Mayan ruins at Palenque, some 200 kilometers (130 miles) away.
The region around San Cristóbal is considered a tourist region, but, nevertheless, Mexico is struggling to deal with a wave of violent crime that has left a record 25,000 victims dead last year.
Ever since the government launched a controversial military offensive to fight the country's powerful drug cartels in 2006, the country has registered more than 200,000 homicides.
av/aw (AFP, dpa)