09/01/11– On Monday August 29, Mexican authorities discovered a hidden mass grave containing seven bodies- six men and one woman- in Chihuahua, Mexico. According to the Secretary General of Chihuahua (Fiscalía General de Chihuahua), all victims showed signs of torture. The woman appeared to have been shot several times, while the men showed signs of strangulation. The bodies were found placed one on top of the other in a roughly six by nine foot grave. All victims, ranging from the ages of 19 to 40 years of age, allegedly went missing on August 13 and have since been identified by family members. According to Proceso, the victims were identified as Freddy Valenzuela Palma (19); César Iván Guerrero Bustillos (23); José David Ramírez Ramírez (23); Froylán Montoya Acosta (24); Bernardo Viniegra Ontiveros (24); María Concepción Gutiérrez Ayala (32 years); and Manuel Salas Acosta (40). All had been thought to be living in the area near where their bodies were found.
In a separate occurrence only days apart, authorities located another mass grave in Juárez valley containing five severed heads. Officials have yet to locate the bodies belonging to the victims, but say an effort is being made towards doing so.
Mass graves are becoming commonplace in Mexico as several have been found this year alone. In the city of Durango, 219 bodies were found in a number of clandestine graves between the months of April and May, 2011 (click here for more information); and nearly 200 victims were discovered in clandestines graves in Tamaulipas, also in April (click here for more information). Investigators attribute mass grave killings to the Sinaloa, Los Zetas and the Beltrán Leyva drug cartels.