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12 sets of female remains found

Published:Tuesday | April 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM

CIUDAD JUAREZ (AP):

Forensics tests have confirmed that 12 sets of skeletal remains found near the United States border are those of girls and women, authorities announced yesterday, fuelling fears that young women in the Ciudad Juarez area may once again be the targets of serial slayings.

The sets of bones were found in January and February in fields in the Juarez valley, east of Ciudad Juarez, and experts have discovered an alarming similarity in the victims' ages. Of those for whom identities have been established, two were 15 years old, one was 16, two were 17 and one 19.

The special prosecutors' office for crimes against women in northern Chihuahua state did not immediately identify the cause of death in the cases, in part because little but bones were found. The remains were in such bad condition that experts have not yet established whether some of the bones might belong to additional victims.

Three of the 12 bodies had previously been identified as women's, but the gender of the other nine bodies was established by DNA and forensics tests.