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American missionaries found slain in north Mexico

MEXICO CITY – An American missionary couple has been found slain in their home near the violence-plagued industrial city of Monterrey, the U.S. Embassy and family members said Wednesday.

The embassy in Mexico identified the couple as John and Wanda Casias, former residents of Amarillo, Texas.

Valerie Alirez, the eldest child of John Casias, told The Associated Press from her home in Greeley, Colo., that one of her brothers found her father and stepmother Tuesday dead in their home in Santiago, Nuevo Leon.

According to ABC4. com in Salt Lake City, the son told the television station that Wanda Casias's body was found hanging in the kitchen and the father's body was located a short time later behind a guest house near a river.

Numerous items had been stolen and the couple's surveillance system had been destroyed, ABC4.com reported.

The family was originally from Amarillo, Texas, but the couple moved to Mexico in 1979 and made it their home, Alirez said.

Missionary work
John Casias was a Baptist preacher and the couple ran the First Fundamentalist Independent Baptist Church in Santiago, she said.

They also had ties to the Bible Baptist Church in Taylorsville, Utah, according to ABC4.com in Salt Lake City.

It was the second slaying involving American missionaries in a year in the Mexican region bordering Texas.

In January 2011, a Texas couple who had been doing missionary work in Mexico for three decades were attacked at an illegal roadblock in one of the country's most violent areas.

Nancy Davis, 59, was fatally shot in the head while her husband, Sam, sped away from suspected drug cartel gunmen who may have wanted to steal their pickup truck, authorities said.

The Davises were driving along the two-lane road that connects the city of San Fernando with the border city of Reynosa in the state of Tamaulipas, which borders Nuevo Leon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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