02/03/12– On February 1, 2012, the bodies of a missionary couple from Texas were discovered murdered in their Mexican home in the state of Nuevo León. The couple, John Frank and Wanda Casias, were well known in the small rural area of Santiago as they had founded a First Baptist Church in the area. The couple had been living in Mexico since 1979.
The couple’s son had stopped in to pay his parents a visit and found them both laying on the floor with cable wires around their throats. According to Mexican and U.S. authorities, a full investigation is being pursued. Based on superficial analysis, the double homicide appears to be the result of a robbery as various items were found to be missing including a plasma television, a pair of a computer, the security cash box, and the couple’s vehicle. Mexican authorities did indicate that there did not appear to be any signs of forced entry into the house, and it is likely that the assailants were familiar with the Casias family. Neighbors have told authorities that it was common for the couple to be involved in various community programs and therefore it was not unlikely that the attackers may have been in their homes as part of the Casias’s community involvement and outreach. Some U.S. media sources believe, however, that the murder was drug related and, as such, Mexican authorities have promised to investigate all possibilities, including that of organized crime.
The Secretary General (Secretario General de Gobierno) of Mexico, Javier Treviño, and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for Market Access Issues have met to discuss the double homicide, acknowledging the potential damage the double homicide may do to the Nuevo León-U.S. relationship.