A dog was spotted running through Mexico with a severed human hand in its mouth, which ended up leading to the discovery of 53 bags of human remains buried in the ground.
The discovery was made in late October during the El Cervantino festival in Guanajuato, a violent Mexican state impacted by drug cartels.
People rushed to the burial site in the town of Irapuato after witnessing the dog carrying the hand. They began looking for signs of their lost loved ones, as the nearby celebration at the festival could still be heard.
“While people from all over the world were celebrating the Cervantino festival, we were digging up bodies, and at the same time I thought it was useless because they were burying more people elsewhere,” searcher Bibiana Mendoza told Agence French-Presse.
Mendoza is an organizer of a group in search of an unspecified number of people missing, including her brother, as the state deals with widespread cartel violence.
Guanajuato is viewed as Mexico’s most violent state. Around 2,400 people have been murdered this year as of September, while another 3,000 people have disappeared.
A turf war between the Jalisco New Generation and Santa Rosa de Lima cartels has resulted in much of the violence in the state. Guanajuato remains a tourist destination and industry hub.
Cartel gunmen have killed several people in restaurants and bars in recent months, including in Irapuato in October, when 12 people were killed.
And gunmen in Santa Rosa de Lima gunmen killed nine people at a bar in Apaseo el Alto just a few weeks later.
The Jalisco cartel is headed by Nemesio Oseguera, or “El Mencho,” a wanted international fugitive.
A dog was also seen carrying a severed human head in Zacatecas, Mexico, late last month. The remaining body parts from that incident were later found next to a message referring to a drug cartel. Zacatecas is also plagued by violent crime fueled by drug cartels.