Six women who vanished in Mexico are believed to have been murdered and burned in a horrific act of brutality possibly tied to warring drug gangs, ABC News reports.
Details of the slayings come as American authorities are warning against traveling to Mexico because of an apparent uptick in kidnappings and cartel violence.
The warnings were partly prompted by four U.S. citizens who were kidnapped earlier this month in the city of Matamoros, with two of the kidnap victims being killed. Three women from Texas also remain missing after entering Mexico in February to sell clothing at a flea market and vanishing.
Further, the FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information about a woman with dual American-Mexican citizenship believed to have been kidnapped February 9 from her home in Pueblo Nuevo in Mexico’s Colima state.
In the case of the six murdered women, police say they went missing on March 7 while on a road by the city of Celaya, located in the state of Guanajuato.
On Friday, state prosecutor Carlos Zamarripa said police raided multiple properties and found skeletal remains linked to the women “almost completely burned.”
Investigators reportedly found hundreds of bone fragments, which suggested that whoever committed the killings burned the women’s bodies, crushed the bones and scattered the fragments, a practice that is common among drug cartels.
“They took the six women to Juventino Rosas, where they later killed them,” Zamarripa said, according to ABC News.
Police matched DNA from five of the missing women to the bone fragments while investigators were still probing for a motive.
Law enforcement also seized dozens of guns and explosives at the properties, in addition to thousands of doses of unspecified drugs. A male kidnap victim who was wrapped in plastic was also discovered.
Police arrested 14 men in connection with the killings.
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[Feature Photo: A Mexican army soldier guards the Tamaulipas State Prosecutor´s headquarters in Matamoros, Mexico, Wednesday, March 8, 2023. A road trip to Mexico for cosmetic surgery veered violently off course when four Americans were caught in a drug cartel shootout, leaving two dead and two held captive for days in a remote region of the Gulf coast before they were rescued from a wood shack, officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo)]