SUSPECTS released after study finds U.S. journalist fell, wasn't killed while hiking in Mexico

Sunday, August 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Two suspects have been released in the death of U.S. journalist Philip True, who died while hiking in Mexico in 1998, authorities said.

Juan Chivarra and Miguel Hernandez, who had been charged with robbery and murder, were freed Friday after more than two years in prison, prison official Martin Ortiz said. Both had admitted to the killing during investigations.

An initial autopsy found that True, a San Antonio Express-News correspondent, had been strangled. But a second autopsy determined that he had died from a head injury.

It was unclear why the two men had been released, although Reforma newspaper reported Saturday that recent investigations determined True fell to his death.

Miguel Gatins, who helped coordinate the suspects' cases, said he could not confirm that report and had not yet been given specifics on the judge's decision. He said the suspects were ``bewildered'' by their release.

Prosecutors and the judge were unavailable for comment.

Carolina Garcia, managing editor of the San Antonio Express-News released a statement saying the paper was ``extremely dismayed with this ruling, including the manner in which it was done.''

True's body was found buried in a shallow grave in a deep ravine in December 1998. He was the first U.S. journalist to be killed in Mexico.