About 53 bags of human remains have been uncovered since late October from a makeshift grave site in the Mexican town of Irapuato, an excavation that started after locals reported seeing a dog walking with a human hand in its mouth.
Irapuato is in Guanajuato, which has the highest homicide rate within any of Mexico’s 32 states. The violence is mostly driven by a years-long war between the Jalisco cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel.
Bibiana Mendoza, 32, told Agence France-Presse that she came to Irapuato in search of her brother after hearing reports of the dog carrying around a human hand.
“While people from all over the world were celebrating the Cervantino festival, we were digging up bodies, and at the same time I thought it was useless because they were burying more people elsewhere,” Mendoza told the news outlet.
Members of the “Hasta Encontrarte” (“Until we find you”) collective search for missing relatives in a clandestine grave at the Santa Fe neighborhood of Irapuato, Guanajuato state, Mexico, on November 10, 2022. ((Photo by CLAUDIO CRUZ/AFP via Getty Images)
The collective uncovered 53 bags of human remains at the gravesite. (CLAUDIO CRUZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Mendoza, who founded a women’s organization that searches for missing persons, is working with forensic experts to identify the human remains that were found in 53 bags.
The state of Guanajuato, located in central Mexico, has seen violent clashes between cartels and law enforcement in recent months. On Sunday, several members of a cartel were killed after they attacked a police station in Celaya, a city roughly 40 miles east of Irapuato, where the human remains were found.
Police officers protect members of the “Hasta Encontrarte” (“Until we find you”) collective during the search for missing relatives in a clandestine grave at the Santa Fe neighborhood of Irapuato, Guanajuato state, Mexico, on November 10, 2022. (CLAUDIO CRUZ/AFP via Getty Images)
On Nov. 9, a shooting at a bar in Apaseo el Alto, Guanajuato, left nine people dead.