MEXICO CITY (AP) — Prosecutors in Mexico’s most violent state said they have found skeletal remains that may belong to the bodies of about 15 people near the city of Irapuato.
Relatives of missing people led them to a site where bones were scattered on the ground or in plastic bags, Guanajuato state prosecutors’ office said late Monday.
The search concluded over the weekend and the remains were taken to laboratories for analysis and possible identification, but the office said they represented the remains “of no more than 15 people.”
Relatives of the missing in Guanajuato have formed search brigades to look for the bodies of their loved ones, collecting information on clandestine burial grounds used by drug cartels to dispose of the bodies of their victims and rivals. Similar volunteer search groups have led authorities in other states to find hundreds of sets of remains in the past.
Guanajuato has been the most violent state in Mexico in recent years, but authorities had hoped the detention of a leader of a local gang on Aug. 2 would help stem the violence.
The detained leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima gang, José Antonio Yépez Ortíz, was better known by his nickname “El Marro,” which means “The Sledgehammer.” He had long fought a bloody turf battle with the Jalisco cartel, and authorities blamed him for much of the violence in the industrial and farming state.
While murders across the state dropped slightly to 339 in August from 403 in July, they may be rebounding in September as gang members fight to fill the vacuum left by Yépez Ortiz’s detention.
On Sunday, gunmen killed 11 people, including four women, at a bar in another part of Guanajuato.