Mexican authorities on Tuesday, Jan. 21, said the suspect arrested for killing and burying bodies in a Tijuana property is likely a serial killer after a fifth body was uncovered by authorities.
While the name of the suspect has not been released by the authorities, Baja California state prosecutor, Hiram Sanchez, said that the suspect is the son-in-law of the first couple found buried in the property last week. He may have lured victims with car sales offers, Sanchez was quoted saying by Associated Press.
Property disputes and unidentified bodies
The unnamed suspect confessed to killing his in-laws: Maria Teresa Lopez, 65, and her husband, Jesus Ruben Lopez, 70 and burying their bodies last week. Authorities said he killed the dual US-Mexican citizens over a dispute over money and property. The elderly couple came to Mexico on January 10 to retrieve rent from properties amounting to around $6,400 that the suspect had supposedly collected on their behalf.
After a daughter reported that the couple had gone missing, authorities launched an investigation and found the bodies buried in one of their properties where the suspect lived. The suspect had been living at the property since he was deported from the US in 2012.
Officials said initially that the bodies of the elderly couple were found at the property. However, two other bodies in an advanced state of decomposition were retrieved from the crime scene last week. A recent fifth unidentified body of a male found buried on Monday has led authorities to believe the suspect may be a serial killer. The identities of the bodies found have not been disclosed by authorities.
Car sales inquiry and missing people
Officials are investigating disappearances and missing person reports in which they were last seen near the property located in southern Tijuana. While no official statement about the suspect's modus operandi has been released, reports suggest officials are investigating reports of people who have gone missing after inquiring about cars for sale. Investigators have found reports of a man and a couple missing after making sales inquiries.
Police said they are yet to confirm if the missing people were the whose bodies were found in the property. The report comes weeks after about 26 body bags were found in Tonala municipality on the outskirts of Guadalajara in Mexico.
Rising violence in Mexico and travel advisory
While authorities have not revealed who may have been responsible for the crimes, an increasing number of illegal activities including gruesome killings has been reported in Mexico in recent years. Reports suggest the growing violence is related to the growth of the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
The United States Department of State had issued a travel advisory to Mexico last month advising to "exercise increased caution" while travelling to certain areas due to widespread "violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery.