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Three Men Captured in Hatchet Slayings of Students

April 17, 1987

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) _ Judicial police in the northern border state of Chihuahua captured three men accused of the hatchet slayings of three students, and police were seeking a fourth suspect Friday, authorities said.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old university student who survived the hatchet attacks has been released from the hospital, Mario Dominguez of the judicial police in Chihuaua said by telephone.

Dominguez said Javier Diaz Cruz, alias ″La Fiera″ or ″The Wild Beast,″ and Cesar Antillon Martinez, alias ″El Norteno,″ were captured Thursday in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain town of Creel, near where the slayings occurred April 11.

Another suspect, Fidencio Duarte Chavez, was captured Thursday in Cuauhtemoc, about 65 miles southwest of the state capital of Chihuahua city, Dominguez said.

A fourth man, Gerardo Payan, was being sought in the Pacific coastal state of Sinaloa, he said.

Dominguez said the three were charged with murder and were being held in the state penitentiary in Chihuahua.

″They confessed,″ Dominguez said. ″They said they were at fault, but they blame the other one (Payan) for being responsible.″

The four students had gone camping at Lago de Arareco near Creel during their Holy Week vacation from school.

Creel, about a four-hour drive from Chihuahua, is one of the stops on the popular tourist train, the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway.

The four men, who were drunk, arrived at the lake and began shouting obscenities at the students, police reported.

″It was the heat of the alcohol,″ Dominguez said.

The men clubbed the students with branches, covered them with their own blankets and axed them, police said.

Cesar Jaquez, 24, and Jorge Lara Galvan, 23, both accounting students at the University of Chihuahua, and 15-year-old Andres Saenz Unzueta died of hatchet wounds to the head, police said this week.

Alejandro Saenz Harrison, a cousin of the younger Saenz, survived the attack and identified the attackers.

Update hourly