Mexican police investigate a man as a possible serial killer after finding bones and a saw

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico City police said late Friday they are investigating a murder suspect as a possible serial killer after bones, a saw, blood and the ID cards of missing women were found at rooms he rented.

Mexico City prosecutors did not identify the suspect by name, but said that he was being held over for trial on charges of murder and attempted murder of two women.

Those charges stemmed from a brazen attack Tuesday in which the suspect apparently waited for a woman to briefly leave her apartment. He then rushed in and sexually abused and strangled her 17-year-old daughter.

The mother returned and saw him leaving, but he slashed her in the neck and fled. The mother survived but her daughter did not.

Because the suspect lived near the scene of the crime, he was quickly identified and caught. In keeping with Mexican law, police identified him only by his first name, Miguel.

When investigators carried out a search of an apartment he rented nearby, they found shocking evidence “that clearly indicate we are looking at a possible serial killer of women,” according to city prosecutor Ulises Lara.

Lara said that during the search of the apartment, detectives found “biological material” — he did not specify whether that was flesh — blood stains, bones, a saw, cell phones and missing women's ID cards.

Most chilling, they found “a series of notebooks that may well be narrations of the acts that Miguel carried out against his victims,” Lara said.

Lara did not say how many sets of bones or ID cards had been found, but local media reported figures ranging from seven to as many as 20 possible victims.

Whatever the number, Mexico City authorities have been plagued by questions about why they do so little to investigate the cases of missing women — until their bodies turn up.

Without proper funding, training or professionalism, prosecutors in Mexico have routinely failed to stop killers until the bodies pile up so high they are almost unavoidable.

In 2021, a serial killer in a Mexico City suburb was only caught after years of alleged crimes — 19 bodies were found hacked up and buried at his house — because of the identity of the final dismembered victim: the wife of a police commander.

In 2018, a serial killer in Mexico City responsible for the deaths of at least 10 women was caught only after he was found pushing a dismembered body down the street in a baby carriage. He dumped most of the bodies of his victims in vacant lots.