MEXICO CITY — Authorities have found thousands of bone fragments underneath the home of a suspected serial killer in Mexico, and believe that they could belong to at least 17 different victims.
The owner of the home has been identified as a 72-year-old man known as Andrés, whose last name hasn't been released due to Mexican privacy laws regarding suspected criminals. Investigators have suggested that the killings could have spanned decades.
Police arrested Andrés in the town of Atizapán de Zaragoza in mid-May, shocking the community on the outskirts of Mexico City in neighboring Mexico State. Andrés had been a well-known local fixture who worked as a community representative in regional politics.
Authorities allege that his heinous crimes came to light when the 34-year-old wife of a police commander disappeared after having accompanied Andrés while shopping. The police officer suspected Andrés in her disappearance and gained access to surveillance cameras that showed her entering his house, then never leaving. The officer confronted Andrés at his home and discovered her dismembered corpse inside.
When investigators searched the house they found numerous identification cards of other potential victims.
Andrés has already confessed to several of the murders, but the exact number of victims is still unknown. Over the past month forensics experts dug below the house and recently released their findings about the bone fragments. They also announced the discovery of women's clothing, makeup, jewelry, and a number of cell phones, along with nearly 100 photographs, 28mm video tapes, and 25 VHS cassettes.
The outdated video recordings additionally suggest that the killings may have spanned a significant portion of time, although it's not uncommon for older technology to remain in use in Mexico.
It appears that the majority, if not all of his victims, may have been women. Mexico is generally considered one of the most dangerous countries for women and sees shocking levels of domestic abuse and femicides. Mexico State has regularly seen some of the highest levels of femicides in the country, along with the disappearances of women.
News reports have identified an alleged modus operandi from the confessed murderer, who courted women in their 30s and 40s and gained their trust, before murdering them.
The husband of the final victim told authorities that his wife didn't have a romantic relationship with Andrés and it pained him to see that reported on the news. The police officer said that Andrés was an elderly family friend that he and his wife felt sorry for. They invited him to family gatherings and had tried to help him out economically because of his advanced age.
Andrés reportedly used to work as a butcher, and actually sectioned and filleted at least his latest victim. In total, 3,787 bone fragments have been identified at the house which suggests that he may have instituted that tactic on his other alleged victims. Authorities announced that they intend to continue searching other parts of the property where they believe that there could be additional victims.
Mass graves are frequently discovered in Mexico, which currently has more than 30,000 people listed as missing. But those remains and victims are often understood to be the victims of organized crime, the drug trade and corruption rather than serial killers.