Two people kidnapped last week were rescued safe and sound from their captors, but a third person taken along with them was found dead, Guatemala's PNC national police said Monday.
An elite anti-kidnapping unit went to a residence located in the Caribbean town of El Estor where it was thought that the kidnappers had holed up and they were met with gunfire.
The officers returned fire and after a shootout lasting several minutes they managed to "suppress" the kidnappers' attack and capture four suspects, including two minors, seizing two guns in the process.
At the scene, the officers rescued Cristian Mazariegos Enriquez, 22, and a boy of 13, "safe and sound" and found the body of 72-year-old Gilberto Puertas Arduengo.
It has still not been determined whether Puertas Arduengo was murdered or died from other causes, according to police.
The three people were kidnapped by a group of armed men last Thursday on the Pueblo Nuevo ranch in the province of Alta Verapaz, some 260 kilometers (161 miles) north of the Guatemalan capital.
The kidnappers were demanding about $125,000 in ransom for the trio, police said.
Guatemalan security forces over the past two years have managed to reduce kidnappings by 47 percent, President Otto Perez Molina said two weeks ago in his annual state of the nation address.
The president also said that 95 percent of recent kidnappings were resolved while preserving the safety of the victims. EFE