TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Three bodies were discovered in a clandestine grave at a gang-dominated teen lockup and are believed to be inmates previously thought to have escaped, Honduran authorities said Wednesday.
The dismembered corpses were unearthed near a perimeter wall at the Renacimiento Center for the Rehabilitation of Minors, criminal investigations chief Ricardo Castro told reporters.
The wall separates the juvenile detention facility from the country's only women's prison. The facilities are about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of the capital of Tegucigalpa.
One of the bodies has already been identified as an inmate who disappeared a year ago and was reported as a fugitive, Castro said. Forensic tests were continuing, and authorities were looking for more possible graves.
"We are checking the entire grounds of Renacimiento, especially the wettest parts and where there are signs of recently disturbed soil," Castro said.
More than 160 inmates ages 12 to 18 are housed at Renacimiento, most of them members of the Barrio 18 gang. Guards do not carry firearms, only rubber batons, and escapes are common.
A force of over 150 police officers, soldiers, judges, prosecutors and forensic experts began combing the grounds Monday.
Lolis Salas, head of Honduras' Department of Childhood, described Renacimiento as "a school of crime" and said the government intends to reform the facility.