HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- (WBRC) -- Investigators said they believe the slayings of a 13-year-old girl and her grandmother had connections to a drug cartel, WAFF reported.
A suspect admitted that Mariah Lopez, 13, was decapitated because she witnessed her grandmother's killing, an investigator said.
Oralia Mendoza was Mariah's grandmother and the girl's main guardian. Investigators said Mendoza also had connections to the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Mariah’s body was found in a wooded area on June 7. Mendoza's was found a week later at a cemetery. She had been stabbed to death.
Authorities said they believe the killings happened on June 4.
Two men, Yoni Martinez Aguilar and Israel Gonzalez Palomino, were arrested in connection with the deaths.
Aguilar, who authorities said told them how to find Mendoza's body, appeared in court on Thursday. Palomino killed Mendoza, Aguilar told investigators, and drove off with the girl in the back seat of the car. Palomino then made Aguilar kill Mariah.