The family of a young Guatemalan woman believed to be among 19 victims of a massacre in northern Mexico is urging the Mexican government to bring those responsible to justice.
State prosecutors in Mexico’s Tamaulipas state said there were at least two Guatemalans among the bodies found. The attorney general’s office said in a statement that investigators had so far genetically identified four of the dead with the aid of their families.
Two were Guatemalans and two were Mexicans, the office said, without giving the names of the people. Some Guatemalan families had said they feared loved ones trying to migrate to the US were among those killed in Tamaulipas.
Authorities said preliminary findings suggested that 16 of the bodies were male, one was female, and two were still unclear because they were so badly burned.
Paola Damaris Zacarias, 22, from the small Guatemalan town of Catarina near the border with Mexico, is suspected to have been among those who died.
“We want justice, an investigation that gets right to the bottom of who was responsible,” her brother Hector Zacarias said in an interview on Friday. “I ask the Mexican authorities to look into this, to find out the truth, and what motivated it.
“This has caused us great sorrow.”
Paola’s father, Gerardo Zacarias, said the family had given DNA samples in the hope that investigators can identify the remains found in Tamaulipas, an often dangerous region where migrants have previously fallen victim to ruthless drug gangs.
Zacarias said his daughter had set off for the US to find work because of the lack of opportunities in Guatemala. The family last heard from her on 22 January, he said, not long before Mexican officials discovered the bodies.
The killings have caused renewed consternation in Mexico about the perils faced by migrants, many of whom come from the three violent and impoverished Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Hector Zacarias was disconsolate.
“These are young people with goals, who were battling to get ahead in the world,” he said. “But unfortunately, they fell into the hands of people with no heart, no mercy.”