A lake that was once a tourist hotspot where locals and tourists would flock to try the local volcanic muds as a health cure has now become something of a haunted location with 25 bodies unearthed amid fears that up to 500 people could be buried there.
It is feared the area has become a grim dumping ground for victims of the country’s narcotics gangs.
The authorities have already unearthed 25 bodies amid fears there could be up to 500 buried at Los Negritos, in the western Mexican state of Michoacan.
It is thought that criminals have been using the area for years to make sure rivals and enemies simply disappear.
Mexican officials are currently working at the site, constantly harassed by vehicles with the logo of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
Michoacan public prosecutor’s office and the Attorney General’s office have been investigating the site since 18th June.
It is believed that criminals have been using it as a place to bury victims in unmarked graves for years.
So far only 8 of the 25 unearthed bodies have been formally identified.
Many others may never be officially found, dissolved by the volcanic thermal currents.
A collective called the “San Pedro Cahro en Busca de Angeles” had been putting pressure on the authorities to begin looking in the area for months.
It was formed by Isis del Rocio Macias Gracian, after the kidnapping and disappearance of her brother Jesus.
His body was recovered five months after she began her search and those believed to be responsible for his kidnapping and murder have reportedly been arrested.
But her battle for justice did not end there and she reportedly decided to continue her work and help other families find out what had happened to their missing loved ones.
She said: “I continue in this because I know what it feels like to have a missing relative and that there is no one who gives you support or is encouraged to carry out this type of search.”
Isis believes that up to 500 people could be buried on the property, which lies on the border between the states of Michoacan and Jalisco.
She added: “There is information that there may even be human remains that have been buried on that property for up to seven or eight years ago and until the present day.”
Isis told local media that the last mobile phone activity of many of the people who are missing was at Los Negritos.
But she said that it is possible that a lot of the bodies will not be recovered because the area acts as a geothermal zone, adding: “Many of the bodies could be inside the boiling wells or the lake, and the people who are from here in the region know that if that happened, those bodies can no longer be rescued because they are like volcano vents.”
She added that based on reports from people who have contacted her group, up to 2000 people are currently missing in the area of the nearby Lerma-Chapala lake and river.
Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest freshwater lake, located to the west of Los Negritos, with the city of Guadalajara to the north of it.
The Los Negritos lake property is located in what is now being called the “Corridor of Death”.
The “Corridor of Death” crosses the municipalities of Cotija, Jiquilpan, Sahuayo, Marcos Castellanos, Villamar, Venustiano Carranza, Brisenas, Pajacuaran, Vista Hermosa, Chavinda, Tangamandapio, Jacona and Zamora.
The residents have given it this name because of the high level of violence in the area, including mysterious disappearances, kidnappings, massacres and attacks against municipal, state and federal forces.
The authorities’ work to find more victims buried in the area is ongoing.