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 Penasco, known to U.S. tourists as Rocky Point.
The Sonora state prosecutor's office says the clandestine 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.
Drug and kidnapping gangs use such pits to dispose of the bodies of victims or rivals.
The burial pit was originally located by groups of volunteers known as the Searching Mothers of Sonora and the Searchers of Puerto Penasco. The groups are made up of relatives of missing people who investigate reports of burial sites.
Puerto Penasco had been relatively quiet compared to many other parts of Mexico, but the Sinaloa drug cartel is known to be active in the area.
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.