Mexico confirms US resident among 4 killed in Zacatecas

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities in north-central Mexico confirmed Wednesday that a U.S. resident was one of four people killed in the state of Zacatecas around Christmas.

The state attorney’s office identified the man as José Melesio Gutiérrez.

The man’s employer, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Champlin Architecture, said in a social media post that he “tragically passed away while visiting fiancé Daniela Pichardo in Mexico during the holidays.”

Gutiérrez, his fiancé, her sister and a cousin headed for a Christmas car ride to a nearby town. Their skeletal remains were found in a secret grave in January.

It was not immediately clear whether Gutierrez was a U.S. citizen.

Local media said Gutierrez was in Mexico to set a wedding date for the couple, amid signs that a criminal gang had been operating near the ranch where the body was found.

The area is close to the border between the state of Zacatecas and neighboring Jalisco, both of which have been wracked by turf wars between drug cartels.

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