A DOG with a human hand in its mouth sparked the gruesome discovery of 53 garbage bags stuffed with body parts in Mexico.
Police officers found the horrifying mass grave at an international arts festival in the Mexican city of Irapuato, in the state of Guanajuato, about 170 miles northwest of the capital, Mexico City.
The chilling find was made after a dog returned with a human hand in its mouth.
Bibian Mendoza, the founder of a women’s collective that searches for missing people, said she came looking for her brother after hearing reports about the dog.
She followed the puppy, who led her straight to the mass grave.
The remains have now been exhumed and analyzed after first being discovered in October.
It is not yet known how many of the remains have been identified, but experts are believed to be working with police to do so.
So far, Bibian’s brother has not been named.
Bibian told Agence France-Presse: “While people from all over the world were celebrating the Cervantino Festival, an international arts festival in the region, we were digging up bodies.
“At the same time, I thought it was useless because they were burying more people elsewhere.”
Police officers were pictured protecting members of Bibian’s group ‘Hasta Encontrarte’ (‘Until We Find You’) as they search for missing loved ones in the mass grave.
The state of Guanajuato in central Mexico has the highest homicide rate of any region in the country.
The state saw more than 2,400 murders and around 3,000 disappearances between January and September this year.
Most violent crime in the region is believed to be related to Mexico’s violent drug cartels.
It is fueled by a years-long war between the deadly Jalisco and Sinaloa cartels over control of the cocaine and fentanyl trade.
Several cartel members were killed on Sunday after attacking a police station in Celaya, about 40 miles east of Irapuato.
Nine people died in a shooting at a bar in Apaseo el Alto, Guanajuato, on November 9.
Cartels not only fight over drugs, but also increasingly fight to steal fuel in the face of rising prices.
“Gang violence, often associated with the theft of oil and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers, does occur in Guanajuato, particularly in the south and central areas of the state,” the U.S. State Department wrote in a travel advisory last month.
“Of particular concern is the high rate of homicides in the state’s southern region related to cartel-related violence.”
It comes just weeks after a dog was seen carrying a decapitated head in its mouth in central Mexico.