MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities in Mexico’s capital said Sunday that two officers were under “provisional” arrest in connection with the disappearance of a 17-year-old university student whose case prompted outcry on social media and a protest at a central monument.
Jose Gil Garcia, deputy secretary of police information for the Mexico City force, said at a news conference that officers involved reported freeing Marco Antonio Sanchez Flores shortly after detaining him Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Gil said two of the four agents were in custody while the investigation advances. He added that authorities have examined evidence including GPS data from the patrol car involved and video and audio recordings.
Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said later that the officers were under “provisional custody.”
Family members and a friend who was present told local media that Sanchez was taking a picture of a mural when he was accused of robbery by officers near a subway station in the northern borough of Azcapotzalco, beaten, handcuffed and put in a patrol car. Gil said the officers reported the youth was detained at the request of an unidentified “citizen.”
When relatives tried to find him at a police station, they were told the teen was never brought there.
At a Sunday night news conference, officials said they had determined Sanchez was seen Saturday in the nearby city of Tlalnepantla, in the State of Mexico, on a pedestrian bridge.
Police there took him before a civic court, but he was allowed to leave because he had not done anything wrong. It was not clear the court knew who he was at the time.
Authorities released video images of Sanchez in the court and in the street, wearing a white T-shirt and seeming to walk unsteadily at times.
“He is wandering in the State of Mexico,” said Edmundo Garrido, the Mexico City prosecutor.
Mancera said more than 100 Mexico City police officers plus others from the State of Mexico were searching for Sanchez.
An Amber Alert was issued and pushed to area cellphones Sunday night.
The teen’s disappearance caused consternation on social media, and a Spanish hashtag that translates as “WhereIsMarcoAntonio” was a top trending topic for Mexico City.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered at the capital’s Independence Monument in the afternoon to demand his safe return.