updated 12/20/2007 5:37:52 PM ET 2007-12-20T22:37:52

Four Mexican construction workers who were beaten and stabbed in the heart in a suburban apartment were related, and two of them were brothers, a coroner said Thursday.

The men, who had been dead more than a week when their bodies were found last week, were identified by Hamilton County Coroner O'dell Owens as Manuel Davila Duenas, 31, his brother Jose de Jesus Davila Duenas, 21, Lino Guardado Davila, 45, and Manuel Lopez Guardado, 21, who was identified by Mexican authorities as Conrado Lopez Guardado. Owens did not say how the brothers were related to the other men.

All four men were from the town of Zacaton in the northern Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, a spokesman at the Mexican embassy in Washington said earlier.

The Mexican government said it would pay to have the bodies returned to Mexico. The Foreign Relations Department, in a statement released in Mexico City, said it did not know when the bodies would be returned.

The bodies of the men, who were believed to have worked for a concrete and stonework contractor north of Cincinnati, were found in a Sharonville apartment after the employer asked police to check on them.

The men had been dead a week to nine days, Owens said. It appeared that three of the men had been killed while in bed, possibly while asleep, he said. Two showed signs of having struggled with an attacker, and each had been beaten and then methodically stabbed in the heart.

No identification was found in the sparsely furnished apartment, Owens said. But there was one wallet, which contained $1,300.

Although there was almost no furniture or clothing, receipts found in the apartment indicated that the men were sending money to relatives in Mexico. One receipt was for $2,500, Owens said.

Mexican government officials and U.S. federal immigration authorities are helping Sharonville police in their investigation of the slayings. Police have declined to say if they have any leads.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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