Mexican man is horrified after six teenagers aged 14 to 18 were found slaughtered on a remote ranch in the central state of Zacatecas – with security forces only locating one survivor.
The surviving teenager, identified as Sergio Acevedo, 18, and the other young men were found on Wednesday morning during an air surveillance operation on a farm in Malpaso, a neighborhood in the municipality of Villanueva.
The victims were identified as: Diego Rodríguez, 17; Jorge Ocon, 14, and his cousin Héctor Salcedo, 14; Gumaro Santacruz, 18; Oscar Rojas, 15; and Jesús Rodríguez, 18.
Acevedo suffered a head and nose wound and was taken to the Zacatecas General Hospital in the state capital, where he is being guarded by police, the Zacatecas Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday afternoon.
The horrifying discovery comes amid a shocking increase in mass kidnappings in Mexico – and just weeks after five college students were brutally murdered by cartel gangs, with one victim forced to behead his childhood friend.
Authorities in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas located Sergio Acevedo on a farm on Wednesday. The 18-year-old is the sole survivor of the seven teenagers kidnapped from a ranch in the Zacatecas municipality of Villanueva on Sunday
Six teenagers were found dead at a ranch in Zacatecas on Wednesday, just three days after they were abducted. In the picture in the top row from left to right: Diego Rodríguez, Jorge Ocon and Héctor Salcedo. In the picture in the bottom row from left to right: Gumaro Santacruz, Oscar Rojas and Jesús Rodríguez
Security forces on Wednesday inspected the farm site where the bodies of six teenagers and one survivor were found
Survivor Acevedo is stabled and under the supervision of a psychologist, authorities said.
According to Mexican news agency Milenio, he told his mother, Karla Rodríguez, that he had “done nothing wrong.”
“Yes, he recognizes me, but he has no idea about the time at the moment, maybe it’s because of the beating, I don’t know,” Rodríguez said. “He said he wouldn’t do evil things, he said, “I haven’t done anything wrong,” and I told him, “I know, son, I know.”
She also disputed comments made by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who told reporters that Acevedo had been interviewed by investigators.
“That’s not true, my son hasn’t said anything, he’s not feeling well at the moment, he’s sedated,” she said, as quoted by El Zol de Zacatecas newspaper. “He didn’t explain anything and didn’t talk to anyone but me.”
Funeral services were held for all victims on Thursday.
“My little Gumarito,” wrote Jennifer Santacruz, one of Gumero Santacruz’s family members. “We will always remember you as the great person that you were.” You were a very good child with a big heart and that will always be in our memories. Fly up. Now more flowers are coming to you.’
The bodies of six dead teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 and an 18-year-old were found by security forces in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas on Wednesday. The teens were kidnapped Sunday from a ranch where they were with friends Sunday morning. A law enforcement source told Mexican news agency Reforma that members of the Sinaloa Cartel were involved in the kidnapping. At least six people were arrested
The teens, who were in school and believed not to be involved in gangs, were hanging out with a group of girls when a group of gunmen raided a ranch in the La Soledad neighborhood around 5 a.m. Sunday.
The property is just 500 meters from a regional security station.
The teenagers were forced into vehicles, beaten and abandoned at a ranch nine miles away near Malpaso.
Law enforcement sources said the teenagers were kidnapped by the Sinaloa cartel, which is at war with rivals for control of Federal Highway 54, which connects Jalisco to the Pacific Ocean, according to the Reforma news agency.
The Ministry of Public Security of Zacatecas dispatched ten units consisting of 300 agents to search for the victims.
Parents and friends of the missing teenagers blocked access to two highways on Tuesday to pressure authorities to speed up the search.
The parents returned on Wednesday to block another street and remained there for an hour before being informed of the discovery.
Authorities have arrested at least six people in connection with the kidnappings and murders.
“What happened to the young people in Zacatecas is regrettable,” said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The families have expressed their displeasure with Zacatecas officials, accusing them of withholding details of the ongoing investigation into the teens’ deaths.
“I haven’t even seen it yet. “I don’t want to see them because they didn’t show their faces,” Jorgo Ocon’s father told Milenio.
A police cruiser monitors the ranch where the bodies of six teenagers and one survivor were found Wednesday after they were abducted from a farm Sunday morning
The incident is the latest tragic episode in the mass abductions of young people this year.
In August, a gruesome video circulated on social media showing the final moments of five young men kidnapped in the neighboring state of Jalisco.
In the video you can see a pair of tied, lifeless bodies lying in the foreground. A teenager seen knocking down and apparently decapitating another victim appears to be himself the fourth member of the kidnapped group of friends.
At the height of Mexican drug cartel brutality in the 2010s, gangs sometimes forced kidnap victims to kill each other. In 2010, a Mexican cartel kidnapped men from passenger buses and forced them to fight each other to the death with sledgehammers.
In May, up to eight young workers were killed in Jalisco after they apparently tried to quit their jobs at a call center run by a violent drug cartel targeting Americans in a real estate scam.
Zacatecas is one of Mexico’s most violent states, where rival criminal gangs regularly clash over lucrative smuggling routes.
According to government figures, more than 500 people were murdered in the state in the first eight months of this year.