MEXICO CITY -- A fuller picture began to emerge Friday of the apparently affable 72-year-old former butcher who hacked up one woman in the basement of his home, and is suspected of killing many others.
The stocky, short suspect has been identified only as “Andrés” under Mexican laws protecting a suspect’s identity.
He was ordered to stand trial Thursday in the killing of a 34-year-old woman whose body he allegedly dismembered with a butcher’s hacksaw and knives on May 14.
Photographs leaked from the crime scene showed the grisly scene. Photos also emerged of the suspect locking arms with other, smiling members of a local neighborhood political group. He was apparently affable enough to have been elected years ago as a sort of neighborhood representative.
But perhaps the most disturbing photos were not from the murder scene — a pair of feet neatly severed at the ankle, a partly fileted arm — but rather the ID cards found among the suspect's jumbled mounds of possessions.
“We have unfortunately found different human remains, bones, women's clothing, voter IDs and other things that lead us to presume that he could be a serial killer of women,” said Dilcya García Espinoza de los Monteros, the special prosecutor for crimes against women in Mexico City, which borders Mexico City.
Prosecutors distributed photos of the house in a gritty, low-income northern suburb of Mexico City, and the spartan interiors looked like a hoarder’s house. But among the busted chairs, there were things that didn't fit in: women's shoes, purses and makeup as well as a pile of audio cassette tapes marked with names.
“This person is probably involved in several cases of women's killings," Ricardo Sodi Cuellar, the head of the Mexico State high court of Justice.
Photos published by local media showed one of the ID cards was in the name of Flor Vizcaino Mejia, a 38-year-old waitress who disappeared in 2016.
Her aunt, Silvia Mejia Molina, waited outside the house where investigators have jackhammered up floors, partly dismantled the dwelling and brought in trained dogs and forensic experts to look for buried remains.
Mejia Molina was hoping for news. But even though she knew her niece was probably dead, she broke down weeping as the reality hit her.
“We could accept her dying of an illness, dying of something,” the aunt said. “But the way she died, I think I wouldn't wish that on anyone.”
“It's hard to find things, her possessions and all, but of all the things they could find, what I would be thankful for, is if they gave me her so that I could her the burial she deserves, and know where she is,” she added.
But it appeared she would have to wait a long time for even that modest hope. Video distributed by prosecutors showed forensics teams shoveling through dirt under the man's floor, turning up what appeared to be a single vertebra here, a piece of femur there. The remains appeared very fragmented, and prosecutors have said DNA testing will be needed.
Mexico has seen a wave of women’s killings in recent years, but the question remains why such killers aren't caught before so many victims pile up.
In 2018, a man was arrested in another Mexico City suburb and confessed to killing at least 10 women, and prosecutors said at the time he may have sold the bones of some of his victims.
That grisly case was only uncovered after the man and his girlfriend were caught carrying dismembered human remains down the street in a baby carriage.