256 john and wanda 09 2010 13  Mourners Call Slain Texas Couple Spiritual Soldiers

John and Wanda Casias, longtime missionaries in Mexico from Lewisville, were found shot in their home on Feb. 1, 2012 outside of Monterrey, Mex. (Credit: casias.org)

LEWISVILLE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Friends recalled John and Wanda Casias as spiritual soldiers who gave their lives to God and hearts to Mexico, where the American missionary couple was slain last week.

Hundreds attended the Wednesday service at Liberty Baptist Church in Lewisville.

Pastor Dick Webster told those gathered that the Casiases “gave their lives for the cause of Christ.” Webster added he wants to make sure their work continues.

The family was originally from Amarillo, but relatives said the couple moved to Mexico in the late 1970s or early 1980s and made it their home.

The couple were found dead January 31 at their home in a village outside Monterrey, about 95 miles south of the Texas border.

Casias said a sister-in-law in Dallas had spoken to their mother around 11 a.m. Tuesday and everything was fine. So he believes there was about a five-hour window when the killings could have occurred.

Fighting between the Zetas and Gulf drug cartels has inflicted a surge of violence and other crimes on Monterrey and the surrounding area since 2010.

Mourners already paid respects to the couple at the church in Mexico established by 76-year-old John Casias and his 67-year-old wife. Both were strangled with an electrical cord.

The couple had maintained a website, www.casias.org, which detailed their lives and missionary work.

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