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3 with ties to U.S. consulate killed in Mexico

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico - Three people with ties to the American consulate were killed in a drug-plagued Mexican city, including a U.S. couple shot to death within sight of the border with their baby in the backseat, officials said yesterday.

President Barack Obama expressed outrage over the killings, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón promised a swift investigation.

Several U.S. citizens have been killed in Mexico's drug war, most of them people with family ties to Mexico. However, it is rare for American government employees to be targeted.

The three died during a particularly bloody weekend in Mexico, with nearly 50 people killed in apparent drug-gang violence. Nine people were killed in a gang shootout early yesterday in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, one of Mexico's spring break attractions.

The U.S. consulate employee and her husband were shot to death Saturday in their car near the Santa Fe International bridge linking Ciudad Juárez with El Paso, Texas, said Vladimir Tuexi, a spokesman for Chihuahua state prosecutors' office.

Their baby was found unharmed in the backseat. Tuexi said the child was about a year old.

Killed were consular employee Lesley A. Enriquez, 35, and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, 34, according to Robert Cason, Redelfs' stepfather.

Redelfs was a detention officer with the El Paso County Jail, Cason said. He declined to discuss the welfare of his grandchild. "I don't want to give any more information to the psychotics out there," he said.

Tuexi said the baby was being cared for by Mexican social services.

The U.S. government has not described Enriquez's job at the consulate, and Cason said he didn't know what she did there. A neighbor of Enriquez, Zonia Rivas, also didn't know.

"I do know she just went back to work about three months ago after having her baby," she said.

A White House official said the husband of a Mexican citizen employee was also killed Saturday, apparently in a separate shooting. Mexican authorities had no information on that slaying.

Civilians have increasingly become caught in the middle of drug gang violence that has made Ciudad Juárez one of the deadliest cities in the world. More than 2,500 people were killed there last year. At least 11 people were killed there over the weekend.

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