A former butcher in Mexico has reportedly admitted to killing the 34-year-old wife of a local police official, but that appears to be only the tip of the iceberg, based on what authorities say they found in the basement of his home on the outskirts of Mexico City. The AP reports that on Saturday, investigators announced they'd retrieved almost 3,800 bone fragments, believed to belong to 17 alleged victims of the 72-year-old suspect identified officially only as Andres, underneath the floors of the residence in Atizapan, in the state of Mexico. Investigators say they also found ID cards of people who'd gone missing years ago, cellphones, women's clothing and shoes, jewelry, and cosmetics, as well as videotapes that indicate there may be recordings of the victims. Some of those recordings were on VHS cassettes and even 8mm videocassettes, indicating the killings may have stretched back for years. Police also suspect there could be even more victims than the 17 found.
"Given the evidence and the findings in this place, the possibility of finding the remains of other victims is not excluded," prosecutors warned last month, per the Washington Post. The paper notes that these developments come against a backdrop of Latin America's femicide problem, where girls and women are murdered due to their gender. In 2020, there were nearly 1,000 victims of this particular kind of murder. El Universal, which says Andres' last name is Mendoza, notes that a police commander looking for his wife led to the discovery of what could be "the greatest femicide in the history of Mexico." The police commander says his wife vanished on May 15 after reportedly going on a shopping trip with Mendoza, who knew the officer, and that after reviewing surveillance tapes showing his wife near Mendoza's home, the officer went there and found a "grotesque and indescribable scene": his wife's dismembered body. Cops say they're trying to identify victims through bone fragment DNA. (Read more serial killer stories.)