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Mexican authorities recover 55 bodies from mine shaft

By the CNN Wire Staff
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55 bodies found in mass grave
  • 55 bodies found inside mine shaft believed to be mass grave
  • Three bodies were mummified
  • Remains were first found a week ago
  • Investigators are searching other ventilation shafts
  • Mexico

(CNN) -- Mexican authorities found 55 bodies inside a mine ventilation shaft that was used as a mass grave in the city of Taxco, officials said Monday.

Bodies were first discovered in the mine shaft a week ago, and Monday's announcement concluded the weeklong recovery effort.

Of the 55 bodies, three were mummified, and two were skeletal remains, the Guerrero state attorney general's office said.

Only four of the bodies have been identified. Among them is David Bravo Mota, who was an area prison warden, officials said.

State Attorney General Albertico Guinto Sierra said he was asking families with missing loved ones to come to his office to begin a process of genetic testing to help identify the remaining bodies.

Meanwhile, authorities said they would explore the mine's 10 other ventilation shafts to see whether any more bodies were discarded there.

Some of the bodies were found with their hands bound or blindfolded, authorities said, creating speculation that the mass grave was related to the work of a drug cartel. But a spokeswoman at the attorney general's office said the suspects and motive were under investigation.

Also Monday, authorities in the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo found inside a cavern six bodies that had signs of torture and mutilation.

The bodies of four men and two women were found just outside of the resort city of Cancun, the Quintana Roo state attorney general's office said.

Three of the bodies were marked with the letter Z, and had holes in their chest over their hearts. An autopsy would confirm whether or not the hearts were removed, the agency said.

One of the six was identified as Isaias Valenzuela Ruiz, who was the head of security at Playa del Carmen and had been reported as missing five days ago.

CNN's Mariano Castillo and Rey Rodriguez contributed to this report.