Authorities said Friday that an abandoned crematory in an outlying area of Acapulco had yielded 60 bodies, a horrific discovery that came after neighbors complained of fetid odors.
The bodies had been embalmed, authorities said, suggesting that the matter was negligence by the former owner of the bankrupt Cremations of the Pacific facility and had no link to organized crime.
Some of the corpses appeared to have been in the crematory for a year, said the Guerrero state attorney general, Miguel Ángel Godínez.
“The place was abandoned, and it seems that they had covered them (the bodies) in lime,” Godínez told Radio Formula.
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Authorities went to the crematory late Thursday after law enforcement officials received an anonymous tip, a statement from Godinez’s office said.
“The state attorney general’s office also reports that among the 60 bodies are the perfectly embalmed corpses of men, women and children of an indeterminate age, all ready for cremation,” the statement said.
It said prosecutors had opened a criminal probe of the crematory’s owner on laws related to the treatment and disposal of corpses.
The corpses were taken to the state coroner’s facility to undergo testing to determine the dates of death and to identify the deceased, the statement said.
It said investigators were questioning the owners of funeral homes in Acapulco and seeking all paperwork related to the identities of bodies sent to the facility for cremation in the past two years.
It noted that funeral home operators had told investigators that the owner of the crematory appeared to go out of business a year ago because of fraud or bad debts.
The one-story white crematory sits along a highway in Llano Largo in eastern Acapulco, a working-class district that’s been the site of gunfights between rival criminal bands.
The area is several miles from the sweep of beachfront high-rise hotels along the scenic bay that made Acapulco famous as Mexico’s first major beach resort.
In early January 2011, gangsters dumped the bodies of 15 decapitated men on a sidewalk along the same highway that runs in front of the crematory.
Guerrero, the state surrounding Acapulco, has been in the headlines for years for the discovery of mass graves. In mid-2010, authorities found 55 bodies in an abandoned mineshaft near Taxco, a colonial silver mining center.
More recently, Mexicans have been aghast at events in Iguala, a city 130 miles inland from Acapulco where 43 student teachers went missing in late September.
The government of President Enrique Peña Nieto asserts that corrupt police in Iguala captured the students and turned them over to criminals, who killed and burned them on a giant pyre at a rural garbage dump. Only a few bone fragments have been found, and parents of the missing students dispute the explanation.
No clear motive has been established for the mass murder.