Third murder of a North American citizen at Lake Chapala in the last two weeks
*Updated content with victim identification*
The remains of an American citizen have been found at Jocotepec, Mexico, along the western shore of Lake Chapala, Jalisco state authorities reported late Thursday. They called the case a homicide.
The victim was identified as John Paul Ateel, 67, who lived in the Roca Azul neighborhood.
Ateel's decomposing body was found in what press sources have described as a trailer. He may have been strangled. His left arm was severed or "mutilated," according to news accounts.
Paul was found by neighbors, who said he disappeared from home four days ago. Investigators said the murder was the result of a fight or quarrel with a person unknown. Items of value were found at the scene, and they have discounted robbery as a motive.
Jocotepec is due south of the Guadalajara metro. Lake Chapala, home to a large community of U.S. and Canadian expatriates, is a 45 minute drive from the Jaliscan capital.
On Feb. 9 two elderly Canadians who shared a home in Ajijic, minutes east of Jocotepec, were found beaten and stabbed to death. One of their assailants, a 31 year old Mexican laborer, is in custody on charges of robbery and murder. Police are searching for his 22 year old brother, who is said to be a co-conspirator. The motive for the crimes was theft of a television the couple had recently purchased, which the men noticed when it was being moved into the house.
On Oct. 27, 2012, narco gunmen attempted to assassinate Jocotepec's police chief and his escorts while they were near the lake. They escaped uninjured. Jalisco homicides unabated in September.
Feb. 24 note to readers: This case has already disappeared from local press sources, after three or four particularly uninformative articles. Jalisco state prosecutor Luis Nájera, who was very proactive in the case of the Canadians murdered just two weeks ago, has said nothing about John Ateel's murder. Perhaps he regards it as unworthy of much attention. If and when the case is solved - highly unlikely - the evidence will establish an acquaintance or relationship, however brief, between the victim and his assailant. The facts suggest this was not an assault by a complete stranger.
Feb. 25 - The Spanish language AztecaNoticias.com carried this report late last night, with a revised victim name of John Paul Abeel: Muere estadounidense en riña en Jalisco. Neither of Guadalajara's primary media sources, the Milenio news network or El Informador, have published additional reports on the case since last week. Azteca lists Abeel's age as 63, not 67, and says he was murdered by three Mexicans "over a debt." No information on how or why that debt was incurred, how much it was, or how the suspects came to be acquainted with Abeel in the first place. The main suspect allegedly told police he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time the homicide was committed. Many questions remain in this case.
May 4 - Chapala records 4th murder of foreign resident in 2014
Feb. 21 - Jalisco prosecutor reports narco grave near Guadalajara-Chapala highway
Feb. 10 - Canadian couple murdered at their Lake Chapala home
Feb. 12 - Canadian press reports arrest in Ajijic murder case
Nov. 16, 2013 - Mass grave by Jalisco's Lake Chapala held 67 remains
Apr. 24, 2013 - Six Lake Chapala police officers ordered to stand trial in kidnapping and attempted murder case
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