Authorities search for Roman Catholic cardinal missing in Panama

PANAMA CITY (AP) — A Roman Catholic cardinal disappeared this week in western Panama near the border with Costa Rica and investigators are searching for the missing cleric, authorities announced Thursday.

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Prosecutors in the state of Chiriqui said they opened an investigation Wednesday, a day after Spanish Cardinal José Luis Lacunza was last seen. Lacunza, 79, is the bishop for the David archdiocese in Chiriqui.

Panamanian flag

Cardinal was last seen in the border region with Costa Rica. (Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The archdiocese confirmed in a statement that Lacunza had not been seen since Tuesday afternoon and said it had reported his disappearance to authorities.

Panama’s interim attorney general, Javier Caraballo, told reporters in Panama City that investigators were travelling from the capital to Chiriqui to conduct interviews.

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Lacunza is the only Catholic cardinal in Panama.

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