A woman and a 4-year-old girl who disappeared on the first day of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Mexican presidency were discovered dead in the violent Knights Templar drug cartel region of Michoacan earlier this week. They are the latest deaths in a country that has seen record levels of violence in recent years, and they have stunned many, including Lopez Obrador.

According to local media reports, two women were found with their throats cut in the town of Chinandega on Monday. A man was also found suffering from a fatal bullet wound. Police seized a car believed to belong to the killers. Investigators suspect they acted on instructions from the Knights Templar cartel.

The girls, with blond hair and fair skin, are believed to be known to drug traffickers, and another government official suggested the mother may have been lured to a meeting with the children by a man in a white car. Michoacan is a stronghold of the Knights Templar cartel, whose leaders are thought to be still at large and on the run.

Mexico’s state prosecutor declined to name the family or say whether they were directly linked to the cartel, but he did say that they were “the latest in a string of innocent people” who had been murdered or kidnapped by groups linked to the Knights Templar cartel.

Lopez Obrador called the killings a “disgrace” and vowed to take action to end the drug violence.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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