The parents of six teenagers brutally murdered by a Mexican cartel received a heart-wrenching video from the ruthless assailant, who wore a chilling skeleton mask as he led the boys to their tragic demise.

This horrific incident unfolded when six young boys, aged 14 to 18, were ruthlessly slaughtered on a remote ranch in Zacatecas, Mexico, after being abducted three days earlier. Faced with Mexican authorities initially denying the kidnapping, the grieving parents decided to release the harrowing video they received as a ransom demand from their children’s killer. The video, featuring a menacing gangster concealed behind a terrifying skeleton mask, depicted the seven boys walking behind their executioner up a desolate hill in the vast expanse of Zacatecas, Central Mexico.

Blindfolded, barefoot, clad in black hoodies, and with their hands bound behind their backs, the helpless teenagers followed the tracks of their captor into a nightmarish ordeal. Tragically, the victims were identified as Diego Rodríguez (17), Jorge Ocon (14), his cousin Héctor Salcedo (14), Gumaro Santacruz (18), Oscar Rojas (15), and Jesús Rodríguez (18). One survivor, Sergio Acevedo (18), managed to escape the brutal attack but sustained head and nose injuries, requiring hospitalization under police guard, according to the Zacatecas Attorney General’s Office.

The video revealed the cartel leader leading the group of teens, seemingly armed, while fellow gang members followed closely with more firearms. The distraught parents shared this footage with local news channel Milenio TV in their quest to disprove Mexican officials’ assertions that their children were not kidnapped. The audio from the video featured a ‘narcocorrido,’ a song portraying the criminal life in Mexico, playing as the ruthless cartel members led the boys to their horrifying fate. The lyrics hauntingly stated, ‘death is in their eyes.’

The video was allegedly used as a tool for extortion, tormenting the families with its gruesome content. The abduction transpired when the boys, friends and cousins, were on a weekend trip with their families near the town of Malapso. Armed men stormed the property, firing gunshots into the air and forcibly taking the teenagers, who were still barefoot. They were subsequently led down the hill, and the chilling video was recorded for use in the extortion attempt.

Zacatecas stands as one of Mexico’s most violent states, marked by ongoing clashes between rival criminal factions vying for control over lucrative smuggling routes. Government data reported more than 500 murders during the first eight months of the year in this region.

Governor David Monreal explained that kidnappings are a common strategy employed by cartels in their territorial disputes with rival factions, with victims released when the perpetrators realize they are not their intended targets. Tragically, this incident is another in a series of abductions that have resulted in horrific outcomes this year.

In August, a gruesome video circulated on social media, revealing the final moments of five young men kidnapped in the neighboring state of Jalisco. The video showed two bound, lifeless bodies in the foreground, while one of the captors appeared to bludgeon and decapitate another victim. This grim scenario harks back to the worst days of Mexico’s drug cartel violence in the 2010s when victims were forced to kill each other. In 2010, a Mexican cartel abducted men from passenger buses, compelling them to engage in fatal combat using sledgehammers.

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