MEXICO CITY – Investigators digging under the house of a suspected serial killer on the outskirts of Mexico City said on Saturday they have so far found 3,787 bone fragments, apparently belonging to 17 different victims.
Prosecutors in Mexico State, which borders Mexico City, have suggested the gruesome discoveries may not end there. During searches carried out since May 17, the authorities dug up the floors of the house where the suspect lived. They now plan to expand the ground search under several other rooms he has rented on the same property.
Identity cards and other belongings from people who went missing years ago have been found in the house full of trash, suggesting the trail of the murders could go back years.
The number of bone fragments found under the concrete floors of the suspect’s home would imply that the corpses may have been cut into small pieces. It might make sense: The suspect, identified by prosecutors only as “Andrés”, was once a butcher and in fact severed and threaded his latest victim.
“The bone fragments are subjected to ‘lateralization’ studies, which include careful cleaning of each, identifying the part of the body they represent, and then placing them in their anatomical position, providing a method to determine the approximate number of victims, ”the office said in a statement.
“This analysis indicates that, so far, the bone fragments found could be those of 17 people,” the statement said.
Authorities have not disclosed the full name of the 72-year-old suspect under Mexican laws protecting the identity of a suspect.
He was sentenced to stand trial for the murder of his latest victim, a 34-year-old woman whose body he allegedly dismembered with a hacksaw and butcher’s knives on May 14.
He was arrested, not as a result of careful investigative work, but because his latest alleged victim was the wife of a police commander he knew personally. He was to accompany the victim on a shopping spree on the day of his disappearance, so her husband suspected him when she did not return.
The policeman had access to police surveillance cameras showing that his wife had entered, but not left, the street where the suspect lived; the policeman went to the house, confronted the suspect and found his wife’s shredded body inside.
But what investigators also found were women’s clothing, voter ID cards, and audio and video tapes suggesting he may have recorded his victims.
The format of the videotapes found in the house may suggest how far the murders have escalated: Authorities found 28 8mm videotapes, which were discontinued around 2007, and 25 VHS tapes, which largely fell out of favor in 2016.
However, obsolete technological formats often remain in use in Mexico after being abandoned in other countries.
In total, prosecutors said they found 91 photographs, many of which were said to have been used to obtain identity cards; eight cell phones, and women’s jewelry and makeup.
Prosecutors said they are still examining the bone fragments to see if they can extract DNA to identify the victims.