Investigators in Mexico say they have found a massive grave containing 166 human skulls
Yesterday, in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, Mexican investigators announced that they had uncovered a mass grave containing 166 human skulls. For security reasons, the exact location of the site cannot be disclosed, but detectives have implied that it is most likely a clandestine pit used by a drug cartel in order to dispose of victims they have killed.
The Veracruz state prosecutor, Jorge Winckler, has disclosed that the human remains were believed to be at least two years old, and there was still the possibility that more bodies would be discovered as the investigation goes on.
Already, other human remains such as skeletons and items of clothing have been unearthed, but investigators are focusing on the skulls for now because it gives a better indication of how many people have been dumped on the land.
The investigation into the site began around a month ago, when a witness told law enforcement officers that "hundreds of bodies" were buried at the site.
Families of missing people had already been searching the area for evidence of bodies, but were told to stay away once the police got involved. Many people were unhappy about this, especially as investigators have been known to botch operations similar to this one in the past.
Lucia Diaz, an activist who works with Colectivo Solecito in order to locate burial grounds, has said that she is wary about this most recent announcement.
"We don’t trust the work they do, we have a lot of reasons," she told Associated Press. "In this case they took out 166 bodies in one month? It cannot have been done properly. It’s impossible, too quickly."
According to her, similar operations in the past have seen some of the human remains get damaged by investigators handling them incorrectly or working in a hurry rather than taking their time to uncover and preserve all the evidence.
This is not the first time that a grave of this size has been discovered, either.
In 2016 and 2017, investigators in the same state discovered the remnants of 253 people just outside of the capital. Again, they were tipped off by relatives of some of the missing people, who in turn had been informed by someone who gave them a hand-drawn map of the gravesite.
What's more, 236 bodies were found in the capital of Durango state seven years ago, and 193 corpses were unearthed in Tamaulipas state - just north of this most recent gravesite.
Officials believe that most of the bodies found in past investigations belonged to Mexicans who were attempting to flee the country and head into the USA, but were tragically kidnapped and killed before they could reach their destination.
So far, investigators have found 114 ID cards in 32 separate burial pits within the site - but the search is far from over. On the contrary, it has only just begun, as the bodies have all yet to be identified, and their murderers put to justice.
For families of missing people in the area, this discovery has come as a heavy blow to any hopes they may have had left that their loved ones were alive. But, at the same time, it gives them hope that this terrible part of their lives may soon be put to rest.