(Gaby Soberanis / Diversidad Guerrero)

Evidence suggests the killings may have been linked to extortion.

Three LGBTQ rights advocates have been found murdered along a Mexico highway.

Mexican officials identified the men as Carlos Uriel Lopez, Roberto Vega and community leader Ruben Estrada.

They were found on Saturday morning in Taxco with bullets in their head, after being kidnapped and tortured by a group of men from a nightclub.

Estrada, 35, was well known for being the main organiser of Taxco’s annual Pride march and the local beauty contest. Vega and Lopez – who was his partner – were also activists for the LGBTQ community.

Evidence and witness testimonies suggest that the killings were motivated by an extortion plot. Four men have been arrested for possession of weapons and drugs, while another is a suspect in their murder.

Gaby Soberanis, president of Diversidad Guerrero, an LGBTI advocacy group in Acapulco, told The Washington Blade: “We are sad, depressed. They were young. They had a future ahead of them.

“The entire state’s LGBTI rights movement is sad, is in mourning. I don’t know if it was a hate crime based on homophobia.”

Other activists across Mexico mourned their deaths.

In a tweet, lesbian activist – and member of the Mexico City Constituent Assembly – Lol Kin Castañeda demanded justice, and said their loss is “for a society that demands equality, freedom and an end to violence”.

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