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Romantically-Involved Colombian Priests Hire Hitmen to Kill Them After Discovering One of Them Has HIV

Two Colombian Roman Catholic priests were murdered in Bogota last year, and investigators have now discovered it was they who planned and carried out their deaths by hiring hitmen to do it, Bikya Masar reports:

PriestsThe Bogota daily El Tiempo reported that the priests hired the killers for about 8,400 dollars.

Public prosecutor Patricia Larrota said Tuesday that the priests, who were apparently romantically involved with each other, had decided to commit suicide because one of them had been diagnosed with syphilis and HIV.

They went to Chicamocha Canyon in northeastern Colombia with the intention to jump to their deaths, but they could not do it: due to a large number of suicides at the site, officials in Santander province had put up barriers.

“Since there were retaining rails, they could not (jump), so the only option they found then was to find a person who ended their lives,” Larrota said.

The priests, Rafael Reatiga and Richard Piffano, were found dead inside a car on January 27, 2011. The authorities first suspected a robbery, since the two men had drawn a large amount of money from the bank a day earlier, when they went missing, and the cash was never found. But the hypothesis lost credibility once the two priests, both aged 30, were found to have settled private matters and cancelled all their appointments after January 26. One of them cancelled christenings he was supposed to officiate, while the other registered all his property in his mother’s name.

Investigators tracked down calls made by the two priests in the hours before they were shot. They came to a gang of hitmen and arrested two of its members, who were formally charged with the crimes Tuesday.

The family has rejected the notion that the priests could have been gay and are demanding their bodies be exhumed to prove it was a robbery-related murder.

Watch a Colombian news report from the day their bodies were discovered,

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  1. Hate to be a jerk editor, but there is no reason to put a hyphen in that headline.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 15, 2012 8:59:22 AM

  2. Maybe it's just me, but it strikes me that there's an element of Laurel and Hardy bumbling-esque to this.

    Ah, Catholics and their guilt.

    Posted by: jtramon | Feb 15, 2012 9:39:34 AM

  3. It's terrible and all but this could make a really great, tragic love story for a movie. Our own "Romeo and Romeo" with the right director and actors (can we get Dustin Lance Black on this?) It hits on religion, hidden desire, crime and politics...

    Posted by: RonTEX | Feb 15, 2012 9:58:45 AM

  4. Actually, Paul R, the hyphen helps avoid a possible misinterpretation of the headline. It could otherwise be read as meaning that "involved Colombian priests" romantically hired hitmen to kill them (though I fail to see to romance in that, and we're left wondering with what they were involved). Anyway, hyphens can be used to link words into single concepts at the writer's discretion. And they're free.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Feb 15, 2012 10:04:39 AM

  5. 0h Anastasia, what u wrote was so sexy to me... ;-)


    Pilar Palanbunda

    Posted by: V-8 | Feb 15, 2012 10:11:30 AM

  6. That hyphen works perfectly well for me, thank you. But seriously, an exhumed body will reveal whether or not it was once gay?

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Feb 15, 2012 10:34:28 AM

  7. Wow is that astoundingly sad. That they had to live their lives in a lie, and felt the need to end their lives because of the ramifications of it. I can't imagine their God would want it that way ... only man.

    Posted by: Pitt90 | Feb 15, 2012 10:38:06 AM

  8. Exhuming the bodies wouldn't prove or disprove if the priest were gay or straight, but would confirm the STD angle.

    Posted by: bsmart2 | Feb 15, 2012 11:14:25 AM

  9. as a proud grammar geek who has studied hyphenation rules :), i side with Paul R.

    The section called "The following compound adjectives are not normally hyphenated:" in this wikipedia entry supports our stance:

    That's just one source I quickly found. Pretty sure there are others.

    Posted by: redball | Feb 15, 2012 11:25:14 AM

  10. “Since there were retaining rails, they could not (jump), so the only option they found then was to find a person who ended their lives,”.

    Now that is what I call a lack of imagination. Pathetic, really.

    Posted by: Joel | Feb 15, 2012 11:36:05 AM

  11. I'm not buying it.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 15, 2012 11:36:54 AM

  12. I didn't interpret it the way many of you are. This appears to be more of a "crazy love" thing where they couldn't live without each other, not a religion issue.

    Posted by: Rin | Feb 15, 2012 1:27:50 PM

  13. I live here in Colombia, and as a colombian gay myself, let me tell you Anon, that the police investigators found strong evidence of this very imaginative... plot? Not only they traced mobile calls and money movement prior to that sad day that pointed to that (proved theory) but also they arrested two of the gang that already confessed to commit the plan and they ratted on a third one that police is frantically searching for. The sad part is that both families don't believe any word of this and they stick to the robbery-murder "theory" and somehow in their wisted homophobic imagination they are demanding an exhumation of BOTH bodies to prove that they weren't gay and to prove the robbery-murder "angle.

    Posted by: Beto | Feb 15, 2012 1:30:21 PM

  14. What a sad story!

    Posted by: George PR | Feb 15, 2012 1:30:57 PM

  15. "The family has rejected the notion that the priests could have been gay and are demanding their bodies be exhumed to prove it was a robbery-related murder."

    That certainly explains a lot.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 15, 2012 1:41:39 PM

  16. Umkay, let me see if I understand this. One of the pair was diagnosed HIV+, with syphilis? SO THEY HAD TO DIE?? Something is definitely missing here, what is it...oh yes, LOGIC! Sorry, but I have a really difficult time mustering compassion or sympathy in this case. And why hire hitmen--isn't that putting someone in the position of being a murderer? Isn't murder like the ultimate sin, for those who believe? How is this a priestly act?? This just sounds really, really stupid and melodramatic.

    Posted by: jim | Feb 15, 2012 5:03:04 PM

  17. If they had committed suicide they could not have a Catholic burial which might be the reason they hired a hit man.

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 15, 2012 6:34:21 PM

  18. Paul R, there's also no reason NOT to put a hyphen in the title. The dehyphenation of English is a real problem, so I'm glad whenever someone uses one in an optional case.

    My view is that if you'd use a hyphen when the adverb doesn't end in "ly", you should also use it when it does end in "ly", for consistency and simplicity.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 15, 2012 11:18:34 PM

  19. I wonder what Pope Benedict and the Vatican will say. Nothing to the press, probably.

    Posted by: Daniel | Feb 16, 2012 11:52:45 AM

  20. Paul R, you're an imbecile

    Posted by: michael mullins | May 3, 2012 5:31:51 AM

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