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June 23, 2017

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Guatemala nabs 3 in probe of grisly murder

GUATEMALA CITY -- Guatemalan police on Tuesday captured three people suspected in the death of a policeman probing the 1990 murder of an anthropologist.

Anthropologist Myrna Mack died of 27 stab wounds in Guatemala City while conducting research about uprooted indigenous victims of military repression at a time when the Central American country was mired in civil war.

The murder occurred six years before the end of the 1960-1996 armed conflict, which left 200,000 dead or missing, according to the United Nations.

Julio Lopez, 50, and Jose Gonzalez, 49, were arrested after a series of raids in the departments of Santa Rosa and Jutiapa, police said. A third was arrest was announced later, that of Alberto Ramos, 38.

The three were picked up in connection with the murder of Jose Miguel Merida, a policeman who had been in charge of the probe of the anthropologist's death, said police spokesman Pablo Castillo.

In February 1994 a Guatemalan court sentenced Sergeant Noel de Jesus Beteta, a member of the country's presidential guard, to 25 years in prison over the Mack murder.

In October 2002, another court sentenced Colonel Juan Valencia to 30 years behind bars for ordering the killing. However, the former head of the presidential guard's security department is a fugitive from justice.

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