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17 mutilated bodies dumped near Michoacan border

September 17, 2012

While many were still celebrating Independence Day in the early hours of Sunday morning, police on the southern shore of Lake Chapala were called to investigate Mexico’s latest grizzly massacre.

Tipped off at 4 a.m. by an anonymous caller, police from Tizapan El Alto discovered 17 mutilated bodies dumped at a farm just off the Guadalajara-Morelia highway on the Jalisco side of the border with Michoacan.

The victims were all men aged between 25 and 50. Jalisco Attorney General Tomas Coronado Olmos said their bodies were left naked, with chains tied around their necks and signs of beating and mutilation.

Medical examinations revealed the men died of gunshot wounds to the head, while the corpses’ varying states of decomposition suggest the killings took place from 24 hours to seven days earlier. Authorities believe the killings occurred in Michoacan before the bodies were brought across the state border.

The State Attorney General’s Office (PGJEJ) identified six of the victims on Monday as Mexican citizens. They included a former soldier in the Mexican Army and five men with criminal records.

No documentation was found on the victims, although 11 of the men had tattoos with references to death and firearms, suggesting gang membership.

Dozens of Tizapan residents visited Guadalajara’s Forensic Medical Institute this week to check whether missing relatives were among the victims, although no matches have been confirmed to date.

Coronado did not speculate as to who was responsible for the massacre, noting only that “our border regions with other states are vulnerable to this kind of action and the dumping of bodies.”

Tizapan el Alto was also the scene of a shootout between gunmen and municipal police last Monday. Two people were killed and two more wounded in the firefight which began after an attempted kidnapping.

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