Mexican authorities are investigating the gruesome murder of a married Texas couple whose bodies were dismembered, stuffed in plastic trash bags and scattered alongside a highway.
The mutilated remains of Yulizsa Ramírez and Nohemí Medina Martínez were discovered on Sunday near the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez along the Juárez-El Porvenir highway, according to reports. The bags were found approximately 17 miles apart on the stretch of highway on Sunday — which runs along the Rio Grande southeast of Juárez and El Paso, Texas — according to KINT-TV, a Univision-affiliated El Paso TV station.
A day after the couple’s killing, law enforcement found more bags containing the remains of two other women nearby, KVIA-TV reported. Authorities suspect the other two victims, who were in their 30s, were shot and tortured. They haven’t been identified.
No arrests have been made in either case. It’s currently unknown if any link exists between the pair of double murders, or if Ramírez and Martínez’s apparent murders are being actively investigated as hate crimes.
Investigators are currently piecing together a timeline of Ramírez and Martínez in the hours leading up to their deaths. Juárez officials haven’t released additional information regarding the ongoing case.
Both Ramírez and Martínez — who lived in El Paso — were originally from Juárez, according to their Facebook profiles. They’d married last year, according to KINT-TV. Family members helped Mexican officials identify their bodies this week.
Neither Texas state investigators nor the FBI responded to requests for comment or confirmation whether they were aware of the couple’s murders when contacted by Oxygen.com on Thursday.
LGBTQ+ advocates on both sides of the border, however, are calling on Mexican officials to thoroughly investigate the Texas couple's deaths.
"We cannot allow Chihuahua to continue to be the second state in the country with the most hate crimes, and that each year there are more," Comité de la Diversidad Sexual de Chihuahua said on Twitter this month. (Juárez is the most populous city in the province of Chihuahua.)
The organization demanded that Mexican officials conduct a thorough investigation into the double murder, singling out Chihuahua Governor María Eugenia Campos Galván on social media.
"People of diversity have the right to live without fear of aggression that can escalate to a hate crime," a formal statement released by the advocacy group also said. "We must avoid normalizing language of hate and [homophobia].
Tori Cooper, the Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative at Human Rights Campaign, also issued a statement in the wake of Ramírez and Martínez’s deaths.
"Yulizsa and Nohemí's story is tragic beyond words,” Tori Cooper said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com on Thursday. “At HRC, our hearts go out to their loved ones and their community as they grieve. We call on authorities in Mexico to fully investigate their murders and prevent more families from having to bury loved ones."
"We know that LGBTQ+ people in general face higher rates of violence both in the United States and abroad," Cooper added. "Every person and community across the globe must act to end violence, discrimination, stigma and bias against LGBTQ+ people.”