Mexico identifies four of 19 bodies found burned near US border

CIUDAD VICTORIA, MEXICO (AFP) – Mexico has identified at least four of the 19 bodies found shot and burnt near the US border, prosecutors said on Saturday.

Two Guatemalans – believed to be migrants – and two Mexicans were identified by their DNA after authorities discovered the bodies on January 22, the prosecutor’s office in the northern state of Tamaulipas said in a statement.

It said Interior Ministry members’ national search commission had been added to the investigation for “greater transparency”, in collaboration with the foreign ministry and the Guatemalan embassy in Mexico.

“It was determined that 16 correspond to the male sex, one to the female sex, and two are pending clarification” due to the severity of the burning, the prosecutors said.

A team of forensics experts, dentists, geneticists and criminology specialists has been formed to identify the victims. Residents of the Guatemalan town of Comitancillo suspect at least a dozen of the victims are their relatives, according to authorities in the Central American country.

Authorities in Tamaulipas, who worked with the neighbouring state of Nuevo Leon, established that 113 bullets were fired into a vehicle where the bodies were found.

Tamaulipas, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, is the shortest route to the United States (US) from Guatemala, but it is dangerous because of the presence of gangs that kidnap, extort, and murder migrants.