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Panama launches probe into missing Catholic cardinal, last seen 2 days ago

file photo: bishop jose luis lacunza maestrojuan is pictured before pope francis leads an extraordinary consistory at the vatican
FILE PHOTO: Bishop Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan (R) is pictured before Pope Francis leads an extraordinary consistory at the Vatican February 12, 2015

Prosecutors in Panama have launched an investigation into the whereabouts of Roman Catholic Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza, according to a post on X, who has not been seen in two days.

Lacunza, the 79-year-old bishop of the Diocese of David, is the senior Catholic cleric in the largely Catholic Central American country.

Top prosecutor Javier Caraballo told reporters earlier on Thursday that investigators have been sent to the province of Chiriqui, near Panama’s western border with Costa Rica and where Lacunza’s diocese is based.

Caraballo noted that authorities have conducted interviews in an attempt to clarify the whereabouts of the cardinal, who was born in Spain, but he did not provide further details.

Officials were formally notified of Lacunza’s possible disappearance on Wednesday night.

However, Lacunza has been missing for at least 48 hours, according to local church sources. The sources said he was last seen on Tuesday leaving his car from his residence in Ciudad David, the capital of Chiriqui.

In a statement, the Diocese of David described Lacunza’s whereabouts as unknown since Tuesday afternoon.

The Archdiocese of Panama, meanwhile, called on the faithful to pray for the cardinal’s safe return, in a letter published on social media.

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