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Rape suspect eyed in mass slaying in Mexico

| Saturday, June 11, 2016, 8:54 p.m.

TEHUACAN, Mexico — The prime suspect in the slaying of 11 family members is an alleged rapist seeking revenge against a victim whose complaint had him jailed, a Mexican law enforcement official said Saturday.

Authorities believe two attackers fatally shot the woman, her family and other relatives, including two girls, the official said. The killers slashed a male victim believed to be the woman's partner and may have tried to decapitate him.

The official was not authorized to be quoted by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Puebla state prosecutor's office said one of the dead women had been raped and had a child by one of the attackers, apparently several years ago.

The killings happened Thursday night in the remote mountain hamlet of San Jose El Mirador, in the municipality of Coxcatlan in the central state of Puebla.

Clemente Hernandez, a leader of the 50-household village, said the two wounded girls were in serious condition with bullet wounds to the chest and abdomen.

Hernandez, 37, said his two daughters, 8 and 9, were among the dead. He said one of the women who died, a relative of his, was pregnant.

“We are not going back,” Hernandez said of the hamlet's residents. “We are going to look for work wherever we can.”

Five witnesses survived and are under government protection. They told authorities the attackers arrived by foot, opened fire and left. Prosecutors said they are believed to have fled into the mountains of neighboring Oaxaca state.

Authorities have not released the names of the victims or the suspects.

Officials had raised the possibility that the killings had religious overtones because residents of the largely evangelical hamlet had disputes with Catholics in a nearby community, but that appears not to have played a role.

The two homes where the killings occurred can be reached only by foot, and the bodies had to be carried to the nearest road on stretchers.

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