SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. – Human skeletal remains were discovered in two locations on the south side of this city on Sunday, while the tally of victims found last week buried in clandestine graves along a highway near El Golfo de Santa Clara rose to 18.
The discoveries came on the heels of a recent surge in homicides in what already was shaping up to be a record-setting year for murders in the border city across from Yuma County. Authorities tie most of the violence to feuding among rival drug cartels or street gangs.
In one of the cases Sunday, a human skull and skeletal remains were found among partially burned tires at a site along 19th Street in an area south of the city where electrical towers are located, the San Luis Rio Colorado municipal police reported.
Police theorized the tires had been ignited to incinerate the human remains.
Later in the day, a skull and bones were found next to a clandestine grave in a desert area about 700 yards to the east of the first discovery, police said.
The bones were located in the same area where bodies have previously turned up, including that of an unidentified man found last week bound at the hands and wrapped in a blanket.
Meanwhile, Sonora police increased to 18 the number of people whose bodies were found buried in clandestine graves southeast of El Golfo, a fishing village at the top of the Sea of Cortes that is a popular destination for Yuma tourists. The graves had been dug along a highway that follows the coast south to Rocky Point.
Sonora state police provided no other details in connection with the discovery of the graves.
Semáforo Delictivo, a citizens organization in Mexico that compiles crime statistics for each of the nation’s 31 states, reports on its website that 80 murders occurred in and around San Luis Rio Colorado from January through October.
That tally represents the number of people whose murders are confirmed as having occurred in San Luis Rio Colorado, not of those whose bodies merely have been found dumped or buried in the city.
The highest monthly total of homicides occurred in October, when 15 people were slain, according to Semáforo Delictivo.
At least eight homicides have occurred in the city so far in November, among them the slaying of three people in a shooting incident on the night of Nov. 16 at an auto glass and body shop in midtown. Police said they recovered at the scene a Russian-manufactured rocket-propelled grenade launcher, two shortened AK-47s, numerous rounds of ammunition and Mexican peso bills in various denominations.
This month’s victims also included a man found on Nov. 10 shot to death on the city’s east side, along the highway to El Golfo; a woman fatally shot inside a vehicle outside a gym on Nov. 6; a man shot to death in his east side home on Nov. 5, and a youth killed by a machete blow on Nov. 2 in what police said was a gang fight.