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(NYT44) CHIHUAHUA, Mexico -- Sept. 25, 2005 -- JUAREZ-MURDERS-4 -- David Meza Argueta, 29, in prison in Chihuahau, Mexico in July 2005, is accused of killing his cousin Neyra Azucena Cervantes. Neyra's mother believes that he is innocent. International observers, human rights workers and federal authorities say there has been a disturbing pattern of malfeasance by state law enforcement authorities responsible for investigating Mexico's most gruesome murder mystery: the deaths of more than 350 women in this border area over the last decade, including at least 90 raped and killed in similar ways. Whether through incompetence, corruption or a lurid connection to the killings, the bungling and cover-ups are so extensive, federal investigators say, that the police and other officials have themselves become suspected of links to the crimes. (Christ Chavez/The New York Times)

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