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The Mexican couple who were detained near Mexico City on Thursday when they were found to be carrying human body parts in a baby carriage, have been arrested and are suspected of killing 10 women and selling a dead woman's baby.

Prosecutors in Mexico state released a statement, saying that the man and women were detained on Thursday in Ecatepec, a crime-ridden northeastern suburb of the capital after police officers had placed them under surveillance. They came under suspicion because they knew three of the women who had disappeared over the past five months.

When officers searched the pram, they found dismembered human body parts that the couple intended to dispose of in a nearby vacant lot. Police found more, badly deteriorated body parts in the lot that were sent to the forensic unit to try to identify the victims.

The couple admitted to police that they had disposed of other bodies in a similar fashion, prompting the search of two buildings. "Investigators found additional human remains in buckets filled with cement, and wrapped in plastic in a refrigerator", the statement added.

The couple confessed to killing at least 10 women selling a two-month-old baby that belonged to one of the victims to another couple. The baby has been recovered and the couple also detained.

A judge ordered the pair to remain in detention as the investigation proceeds and forensics experts attempt to identify the victims.

For years, Mexico has suffered through waves of violence against women and girls, with over 90% of crimes going unpunished. Hundreds of people took to the streets of Ecatepec on Sunday to vent their outrage with placards saying, "Not one more! Enough is enough!" They also carried candles and white flowers as they demanded "justice and an end to rampant femicide in Mexico state".

Until recently, Ecatepec had been spared the horror of the killings and disappearances of women. In the past few years, Ciudad Juarez, on the border with the United States, was a focal point for the violence but it has now spread.

It has been reported by UN Women that seven women and girls are killed in Mexico every day and, according to Mexico's local non-governmental organisation, Semaforo Delictivo, they have on record 188 killings of women between January and March this year – up 18% since last year.

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