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Bodies found in Tijuana believed to be missing SoCal couple

Mexican flag in Tijuan
Posted at 10:04 AM, Jan 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-18 13:04:27-05

GARDEN GROVE (AP/CNS) - Mexican authorities say a United States couple missing for a week in Tijuana have been found buried on the property of one of their homes in Tijuana.

Baja California state prosecutor Hirán Sánchez said Friday that the bodies of María Teresa López and Jesús Rubén López were discovered with the help of cadaver dogs.

Authorities said they have arrested and charged the couple's son-in-law.

Officials say the preliminary investigation suggests the motive was a monetary dispute over rent payments. The couple had crossed the border to collect rent payments for apartments they own in Tijuana.

"I don't have confirmation these are our victims,'' Garden Grove Police Department Lt. Carl Whitney said. "[Tijuana investigators] have not talked to our detectives."

Investigators in Mexico have been tight-lipped about the investigation. But Whitney said he has seen reports from Mexican news sources that during the execution of a search warrant on the couple's property Friday, they found the bodies buried in a patio or courtyard area.

Lopez and Guillen drove a pickup to Tijuana last Friday to collect rent from tenants at properties in Mexico, Whitney said.

The two were due back last Friday afternoon, but when their daughter could not get in touch with them, she called police about 7:10 p.m. last Friday, he said.

The daughter was tracking the two through a "find my phone'' online service for iPhones, and it showed that the couple was still at their Tijuana property, but a relative there said they weren't around, Whitney said. Then the phone went dead and she could not track them anymore, he said.

The pickup was found near their property, he said.