MEXICO CITY – Prosecutors confirmed that the bodies found earlier this week in the bed of a pick-up truck in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, were those of four men kidnapped last Friday during a wedding.
The bodies of the groom, his brother, his best man and an unidentified man were found Monday in a residential area in Juarez, located just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Rafael Morales Valencia, 29, Jaime Morales Valencia, 25, and Guadalupe Morales Arriola, 51, were identified based on descriptions of the clothing they were wearing, the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office said.
The four men were abducted during a wedding at a church in Ciudad Juarez.
The men had been tied up, stripped to the waist, severely beaten and had their faces covered with duct tape, a sign that they were killed by members of an organized crime group, the AG’s office said.
Rafael Morales was the groom, while Jaime Morales was his brother and Guadalupe Morales was the best man, a police spokesman told Efe.
The bodies were found after residents noticed a foul odor coming from the pick-up truck and called police.
The vehicle containing the bodies was abandoned in front of a park in Virreyes, a residential neighborhood in the northern section of the border city.
Ciudad Juarez, where more than 5,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when more than 800 people were killed, then it more than doubled to 1,623 in 2008, according to press tallies, with the number of killings soaring to 2,635 last year.
The death toll for this year currently stands at nearly 900, including 16 people massacred on Jan. 31 while attending a birthday party in the Villas de Salvarcar neighborhood.
The Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, backed by hitmen from local street gangs, have been fighting for control of the border city. EFE