A Project for Better Journalism chapter

The Tragic Mexico Burial Pit

In late October, groups of volunteers known as the Searching Mothers of Sonora and the Searchers of Puerto Peñasco discovered a clandestine burial pit. The groups are made up of relatives of missing people who investigate reports of clandestine burial sites.

A total of 42 bodies and skeletons have been pulled from a burial pit in the Mexican desert near the Gulf of California beach town of Puerto Peñasco, which is known to U.S. tourists as Rocky Point. The Sonora state prosecutor’s office says the pit yielded a dozen bodies last week, but digging over the weekend found another 30 sets of remains, almost all complete skeletons. The skeletons still had some clothing on them, and items of clothing suggest two may be women. Four full days of digging at the spot, about 5 miles from Puerto Peñasco, revealed only two of the bodies were relatively recent and still had decomposing flesh on them. 

Puerto Peñasco had been relatively quiet compared to many other parts of Mexico, but the Sinaloa Drug Cartel is known to be active in the area. Mexican state officials say armed men threatened volunteer searchers who found dozens of bodies in clandestine burial pits near the Gulf of California resort of Puerto Peñasco . The Sonora state prosecutor’s office says the “Searching Mothers of Sonora” group detected a burial pit over the weekend and was waiting for investigators when a group of armed men drove up and told them to get out.

 The citizens of Puerto Peñasco are still trying to identify the bodies of these unfortunate victims, however, none of the bodies could be identified. Even so, hope still remains as prosecutors have offered to take DNA samples from Puerto Peñasco residents whose relatives are missing to see if the samples match any of the skeletons. 

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