At Least 113 Bodies Found in Mass Grave in Mexico

At least 113 bodies have been identified during the excavation of a mass grave in Mexico.

The clandestine grave was found in the municipality of El Salto in the western Mexican state of Jalisco on October 2.

After seven weeks of excavations, the state prosecutor Gerardo Octavio Solis said in a press conference that 113 bodies have been found.

He said that 30 have been identified by relatives—two women and 28 men.

Mexico mass grave
A taped-off unfinished construction at the farm a clandestine mass grave was discovered in the municipality of El Salto, outside the western Mexican city of Guadalajara, in Jalisco State, taken on May 10, 2020. Another mass grave was found in the region last month. ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images

The other victims remain as "unidentified deceased persons" with the Forensic Medical Service.

The state of Jalisco is one of the most active drug cartel battlegrounds in the country.

It has seen the highest number of bodies exhumed from clandestine graves between 2006 and September 2020, according to a report by the National Search Commission of the Mexican Ministry of the Interior last month.

It comes after AFP reported that 60 bodies were found in another mass grave in the neighbouring state of Guanajuato at the end of October.

How the grave was uncovered

Various investigations and intelligence work had led forensic experts to discover the grave on a farm in the Los Sabinos subdivision of El Salto, on October 2 this year, according to the EFE news agency.

The agency reported at the time that forensic teams had initially found four buried bodies.

But after seven weeks of excavations, 113 bodies have been found. Two skulls and four bags labelled with different signs have been identified and analyzed by forensic experts.

Mass graves in Mexico

In October, Jalisco prosector for missing people, Blanca Jacqueline Trujillo, reportedly said that they were also working on the excavation of another grave in the nearby Jalisco municipality of Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, according to EFE.

In this grave, 25 unidentified corpses were reportedly found as well as a skeleton, five skulls and 14 batches of bone segments.

mexico mass grave
Members of the local attorney's office cordon off on September 17, 2018, the site where a mass grave was found in El Arbolillo, Alvarado municipality, in the Mexican southeastern state of Veracruz, a region hit by bloody drug cartel turf wars. At least 113 bodies have been found in mass grave in El Salto, Mexico. VICTORIA RAZO/AFP via Getty Images

Later in October, 60 bodies were also found in another mass grave in the town of Salvatierra in the neighbouring state of Guanajuato, according to AFP.

Authorities reportedly said that this discovery was unusual as the grave was found within the town and not in a deserted stretch of the countryside.

Karla Quintana, the head of Mexico's National Search Commission (CNB) was quoted by the news agency as saying: "The vast majority of the bodies, in which there is still some tissue or other sign, would appear to be young people, very young, possibly even teenagers."

mexico mass grave
Forensic medical personnel recover a corpse from a mass grave on the third day of work at the cemetry of Tetelcingo, Morelos, Mexico on May 25, 2016. AFP via Getty Images

According to the report of the National Search Commission of the Mexican Ministry of the Interior in October, Jalisco has seen 897 victims extracted from clandestine graves between 2006 and September 2020—the highest number in the country.

The report also found that Jalisco has the highest number of missing people with 3,568 cases registered in the last two years. This constitutes one in four disappearances in Mexico from December 2018 to today.

Last month the Mexican government said there had been 4,092 clandestine graves since 2006, according EFE. From these graves the authorities have reportedly exhumed 6,900 bodies.