Crime & Justice

Officials: Bodies found in southeast Mexico are those of kidnapped workers

Cancun, Mexico, Jun 28 (EFE).- Mexican authorities said Tuesday that eight bodies found over the weekend in a field in the southeastern state of Yucatan correspond to a group of workers kidnapped days earlier in a fishing community in the neighboring state of Quintana Roo.

In an interview with Efe, Quintana Roo Attorney General Oscar Montes de Oca confirmed that six of the eight bodies have already been fully identified.

He said they will be turned over to their families once the Yucatan AG’s office completes its forensic work and transfers the bodies across state lines.

The prosecutor said the bodies found Saturday in a field in the Yucatan municipality of Chikindzonot bore signs of torture and had been dead for 72 hours at the time of their discovery.

That group of male workers disappeared last Wednesday afternoon from the fishing community of Xcalak, but authorities only became aware of the kidnapping after one of the victims escaped and reported the crime the following morning, Montes de Oca said.

The group of abducted individuals had been working at a coastal ranch situated on the Xcalak-Mahahual highway near the major Caribbean cruise port of Costa Maya.

Disputes have erupted frequently in that region for control over properties seen as having lucrative tourist potential.

“All of the men were aged 18 to 45, approximately,” the prosecutor said.

“We’ve already informed the six families that we’re certain of their identities and all that’s pending is the DNA test, but when the time comes we’ll have the results,” he added, noting that the men were identified by their tattoos or other bodily mark.

The official said no arrests have yet been made but that investigators are exploring possible links to drug trafficking and property invasions.

“The fact they were harmed with the goal of obtaining information tells us (the kidnap victims) may have had some information about something important for these people,” Montes de Oca said. “And that, along with it being a zone with the presence of drugs, could be the main line of investigation.”

“But we’re also not ruling out that (the crime) may be related to property invasions,” he said.

The Yucatan AG’s office is tasked with identifying the bodies and also determining the place and causes of death.

“The work is carried out in Yucatan using several techniques. We have dactyloscopy (examination of fingerprints to establish identity), genetic analysis, photography, odontology, anthropology, medicine and chemistry. All of these tests are mandatory,” the prosecutor said.

The crime reflects the wave of violence affecting the Mexican Caribbean, Mexico’s main tourist region, amid clashes between criminal gangs that also have left international visitors dead or injured.

The number of homicides in Mexico fell to 33,308 in 2021 after the two most violent years in the country’s history.

A total of 34,690 homicides were registered in 2019, leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s first full year in office, and 34,554 in 2020. EFE


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