GUATEMALA CITY (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — It was in late January when the remains of 16 Guatemalan migrants killed near the Texas-Mexico border were found and it took until mid-March for them to be returned to their native country.

The remains landed in Guatemala’s capital on Friday, where they were met with flower wreaths and their waiting relatives. The remains were scheduled to be driven directly to their communities in Guatemala’s San Marcos department, which borders southern Mexico.

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The Guatemalan government declared three days of mourning.

A coffin of one the victims at the La Aurora airport on March 12, 2021 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. On January 22, nineteen shot and charred bodies were found in two trucks in the Mexican-American border town of Camargo in Tamaulipas. (credit: Josué Decavele/Getty Images)

The bodies, along with three others, were found piled in a charred pickup truck in Camargo, across the Rio Grande from Texas, in an area that has been bloodied for years by turf battles between the remnants of the Gulf cartel and the old Zetas cartel.

A dozen Tamaulipas state police officers were arrested in connection with the killings. The remains were flown from the Mexican border city of Reynosa early Friday.

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Relatives of the dead in the Guatemalan town of Comitancillo first raised the alarm that something horrible had happened in Camargo. Because the bodies had been burned, it took weeks for positive identifications through DNA samples, but the families in Guatemala had already started mourning.

The families had suddenly lost communication with their migrating relatives around Jan. 21, and believed they had been near the area where Mexican authorities made the grisly discovery.

Some said that one of the smugglers who had been leading the group told the families what had happened.

Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei confirmed earlier this month that five Guatemalans had survived the attack and were under protection in the United States.

The massacre raised memories of another migrant massacre in Tamaulipas in August 2010, when members of the Zetas cartel killed 72 migrants near the town of San Fernando.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSDFW.com Staff