Search Teams Make 'Sad and Terrible' Find

Officials make a grim discovery in central Mexico
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2020 10:30 AM CDT
59 Bodies Found in Mass Graves
Leticia Valencia Cruz shows a photo of her son Jose Manuel who was disappeared in 2018, near the site where family members who search for disappeared relatives have found 59 bodies, in Salvatierra, Guanajuato state, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020.   (AP Photo/Mario Armas)

Search teams dug for more remains Thursday at a site in central Mexico where 59 bodies have already been found in clandestine graves over the past week in an area known as a cartel battleground, the AP reports. It was the largest such burial site found to date in Guanajuato, the state with the largest number of homicides in Mexico, though bigger clandestine burial sites have been excavated in other parts of the country. Especially striking about this discovery, but also a testament to the prevailing level of fear, is that the site is in the town of Salvatierra, not a desolate area out in the countryside. The head of the official National Search Commission, Karla Quintana, said in an interview with W Radio that people had to have known that bodies were being disposed of there.

"This place is in a neighborhood," Quintana said. "To get there you have to pass homes, you have to pass streets ... the people know." Quintana said the tip came about two weeks ago from relatives looking for missing loved ones. She said searchers have found indications that more bodies may be buried there, so the search continues. The goal is to recover the bodies, identify them and return the remains to their families, she said. Quintana said many victims seemed young and there were a significant number of women. Quintana called it "a sad and terrible discovery." The bodies were extracted over the last week from 52 pits at a property in Salvatierra. The area is near the border with Michoacan state and there is known to be a significant organized crime presence.

(More Mexican drug cartel stories.)

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