ACAPULCO: Mexican police have found 61 bodies, including children, in an abandoned crematorium that closed more than a year ago in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, authorities said Friday.
“We are working on identifying how many children, women and men” were in the building, Guerrero state chief prosecutor Miguel Angel Godinez said, without giving details about the cause of death.
Acapulco has been beset by drug gang violence but it was not immediately clear whether the bodies were murder victims dumped by a gang, or whether the crematorium’s operators left corpses there when the facility closed down.
“We can’t say for now that there is an indication that organized crime participated in this, but we can’t rule it out,” Godinez told Radio Formula.
Forensic experts and investigators are seeking to determine how long the bodies, which were discovered late Thursday, were left in the building, which has a sign reading “Cremations of the Pacific.”
The prosecutor said authorities may carry out arrests but he declined to give more details.
Lime was scattered in the crematorium in an apparent bid to mask the smell.
The bodies were found after neighbors complained about a foul smell coming from the crematorium, which was abandoned more than a year ago, a high-ranking state police official said on condition of anonymity.
The officer said the bodies were in an advanced state of decay.
Neighbors said they complained about the stench two days ago. Around 20 security forces were guarding the small building.
Local residents, who asked to remain anonymous, said they never noticed any unusual activity in the building and never saw any suspicious people in the area.
Acapulco was once a favorite haunt of Hollywood stars, but the city has lost its flair over the years, while feuding drug gangs have turned it into one of Mexico’s most violent places.
The port is in Guerrero state, where authorities say 43 college students were abducted by corrupt police and handed over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, whose henchmen killed and incinerated the victims.
The aspiring teachers, all young men, vanished on September 26 in the city of Iguala, 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of Acapulco.
The Iguala case has sparked protests and turned into the biggest challenge of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s two-year-old administration.