2 popular Mexican singers slain


MEXICO CITY -- The tortured body of the lead singer of a popular Mexican band was found along a highway Monday and another singer was shot to death, police said, the latest Mexican musicians killed in a wave of violence over the past year.

Sergio Gomez, a singer with K-Paz de la Sierra, went missing Sunday after a concert in the Michoacan state capital of Morelia, according to the state attorney general's office.

Gomez allegedly got into a car with three other people after the concert and headed for Puerto Vallarta, said Magdalena Guzman, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office. His body was found Monday, showing signs of choking and severe bruising on the thorax and abdomen -- as well as burns on the legs.

Guzman said it wasn't clear how Gomez died despite the signs of choking. "The blows were so severe that they too could have been fatal," she said.

K-Paz was the best-known band in the "Pasito Duranguense" music scene, which features ballads played at a sped-up rhythm. Among the group's hits was "Mas Capaces Que Nunca," or "More Capable than Ever," for which it earned a Billboard Latin Music Award last year.

Mario Olvera, the group's manager, told The Associated Press the singer's family identified his body Monday night. "His brothers saw the body: It's his," Olvera said.

A lesser-known singer Zayda Pena, 28, was shot in the heart Saturday in the city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, while recovering from a gunshot wound received on Friday, police detective Abel Infante said Monday.

Two people with Pena were killed in the Friday shooting. No suspects were identified in her killing.

Pena headed a band known as Zayda y los Culpables -- "Zayda and the Guilty Ones." One of her songs was "Tiro de Gracia," a reference to an execution-style gunshot.

At least eight musicians have been killed in Mexico this year, including performers of the popular northern "Narcocorrido" music whose lyrics often focus on drug trafficking and violence.

Michoacan has made headlines this year for drug-related violence, as traffickers fight over routes to transport drugs north. K-Paz's songs, however, did not deal extensively with drug trafficking. Pena's songs were mostly romantic ballads.

On Nov. 25, 2006, Valentin Elizalde was shot to death along with his manager and driver shortly after performing across the border from McAllen, Texas.

Last December, Javier Morales Gomez of the band Los Implacables del Norte was shot to death in a park in Michoacan. Police have not spoken of a motive in that case.

In February, gunmen shot to death four members of the musical group Banda Fugaz after they performed in Michoacan.

Gomez will be buried in Mexico City on Tuesday, Olvera said.