Ciudad Juarez.- Four female school teachers from the same family were found tortured and slain in the mountains of northern Mexico, authorities in Chihuahua said.
The victims ages are 32, 38, 57 and 59, and were reported missing last Wednesday after they set out driving from the town of Creel to attend a funeral in Guachochi.
The women's bodies were discovered late Saturday in a rural area of the municipality of Bocoyna, the Chihuahua state Attorney General's Office said.
According to the authorities, the women had reported encountering a checkpoint set up by criminals on the road between Creel and Guachochi.
The mountains of Chihuahua have been a focal point for bloodshed in recent weeks.
Hours after the discovery of the missing teachers, another woman was found fatally shot in a nearby village; though police said that they saw no evidence of the crimes being related.
In the highland city of Guadalupe and Calvo, gunmen killed 11 people between
[p]Dec. 7-8. The attackers closed the roads leading into town, and entered some houses and grabbed several people, residents told EFE.
Officials said off the record that the attackers may have belonged to the Sinaloa drug cartel while the victims may have been members of the La Linea gang, as it was reported by the Reforma newspaper last week.
La Linea provides enforcers for the Juarez cartel in its war against the rival Sinaloa cartel for control of smuggling routes in northern Mexico.
Chihuahua has been one of the states most affected by the wave of drug-related violence in Mexico, which has claimed some 60,000 lives since 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against the country's cartels.