Forty-five bags containing human remains were discovered in Jalisco, Mexico, earlier this week and appear to resemble the features of young missing call center employees, according to state prosecutors.
The Jalisco Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that the remains were found in the municipality of Zapopan during a search for the missing people. The remains found in a 40-meter deep ravine will still need to undergo forensic tests to officially identify the bodies.
The seven call center workers disappeared last week from the Jardines Vallarta and La Estancia neighborhoods in Jalisco. An eighth person potentially connected to the group is also missing.
The prosecutor’s office said the remains share the physical characteristics of some of the missing people. Since it is unclear at this time if the remains belong to them, authorities are continuing the search.
Authorities are analyzing the remains found in the bags to determine how many bodies were found, their identities and their cause of death. Remains belonging to both men and women were found.
Police had responded to the Mirador del Bosque ravine in the city of Zapopan on Tuesday after receiving a tip about potential evidence linked to the missing group. A search effort began when authorities discovered a black plastic bag with human remains.
Prosecutors said difficult terrain and lack of sunlight had complicated the investigation.
The investigation remains ongoing.
Jalisco state has suffered significant violent crime in recent years and is the target for major cartels, including the Jalisco New Generation cartel and rivals Nueva Plaza.
Reuters contributed to this report.