It was a bloody sunrise for the people of this dusty Mexican border town on Tuesday.
Police found two male heads on top of a cement wall in the plaza of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, a town on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, right across from El Paso, Texas.
Two headless bodies, one of them stabbed in the back, were later found in two separate homes.
Another man and a woman were then discovered in a nearby house with their throats slashed.
Chihuahua state police said they believed all the killings were related.
The first victim appeared to be Cruz Alfonso Salazar, 32. His wife reported to police that she had seen men shoot him dead early on Tuesday, then cut his head off and stick a knife in his back.
Officers found Cruz's headless body in his own home and then the headless body of 25-year-old Daniel Marrentes Hernandez in a house across the plaza.
At the fourth crime scene, at a nearby home, police discovered the bodies of the man and woman whose throats had been cut. Officers found a rifle and two bloody kitchen knives. They identified the man as Jesus Rivas Ramos, 35, but didn't release the woman's name.
Town on lucrative drug route
Authorities did not discuss possible motives for the slayings or indicate whether the killings were drug-related.
The town stands along a lucrative drug corridor being fought over by the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels.
Guadalupe Distrito Bravos has no police department after the only officer, Erika Gandara, was kidnapped in December.
It is now heavily guarded by soldiers and federal police who set up random checkpoints on the highways that connect it and other farming towns to Ciudad Juarez, which has become one of the world's deadliest cities.
The public transportation system cancelled bus runs between Ciudad Juarez and the town after drivers said they had been attacked by gunmen.
The bodies of three relatives of a slain rights activist were found in the desert outside Guadalupe Distrito Bravos in February.
The case of Josefina Reyes, who was killed in 2010, and her family gained notoriety because they were attacked over the course of a year and remaining relatives recently fled the town of Guadalupe to live in an undisclosed city in Mexico.
Although residents said on Tuesday that it had been quiet for the last few weeks, at least a dozen homes and businesses look closed and burned.
"People here only go out to do their activities. They don't go out to have fun, they don't go out for a walk, they don't go out to the bar," said a cotton farm worker, who insisted on not being quoted by name out of fear for his safety.