Police: Alabama teen beheaded by cartel after witnessing grandmother’s murder

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HUNTSVILLE, Al. — Gruesome details were brought to light in the deaths of a 13-year-old Alabama girl and her grandmother whose mutilated bodies were located just last month in Madison County.

During a preliminary hearing on Monday investigators revealed that Mariah Lopez was beheaded in a cemetery after witnessing Oralia Mendoza's murder. Their killers: two men believed to be connected to the Sinaloa Cartel, a drug-trafficking organization.

According to investigators it all stemmed from an incident in early June. Days before she was killed, Mendoza reportedly traveled to Georgia with three others to pick up a shipment of meth. Something went wrong and the trip reportedly turned deadly, leading one of the alleged killers, Israel Palomino, to believe the entire thing was a set up.

Three days later, Mendoza and her granddaughter was picked up by Palomino and a man named Yoni Aguilar. They were told they were being taken to a safer location, but instead the group made a stop at Moon Cemetery. That's where an argument broke out and Palomino allegedly stabbed Mendoza with a knife.

The suspects then reportedly took Lopez to a secluded spot and beheaded her because she had witnessed the attack. The girl's body was found several days later.

It wasn't until Aguilar confessed that authorities located her grandmother's body. Police said they also discovered two knives that were used in the murders. One was under Aguilar's mattress while the other was under Palomino's.

Investigators also found blood in Palomino's car.

Both men were both charged with two counts of capital murder.

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