When 11-year-old Priscilla Ibarra Alfaro left her mother's house in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez to get a bite to eat, relatives didn't give it a second thought.
"They didn't think it was dangerous to go and get a hamburger," Priscilla's aunt, Maria del Carmen Alfaro, said Wednesday.
But Mexican authorities say the middle school student visiting from San Elizario, a small farming community east of El Paso, was gunned down Saturday along with an adult family friend as she stood in front of a hamburger stand.
She became the latest child with ties to Texas to be killed in Mexico's ongoing drug war. Countless other children have also been caught in the crossfire.
Her cousin, 14-year-old Victor Manuel Chuca Nevarez, was found dead inside a nearby pickup truck. A few blocks away, police found another man dead in the street.
No arrests have been made
Mexican authorities say 70 bullet casings were found around the scene. No arrests have been made.
Del Carmen said Wednesday that Mexican authorities have not told the family who may have been behind the attack, but she said relatives believe the man with Priscilla and Manuel and the other man killed that night may have been the targets.
Priscilla had arrived in Mexico on Friday and planned to stay a few days during her summer vacation with her mother, who had been deported from the U.S.
Del Carmen said Priscilla was never afraid to visit her mother and another sister who lived in the community of Barreales, in the far east part of Ciudad Juarez and across the Rio Grande from Fabens, Texas.
"She just wanted to visit with her mother," del Carmen said in her San Elizario home as she sifted through photographs of Priscilla from a recent school band concert.
"She played a lot with her friends. She made a lot of friends," said Priscilla's cousin, 14-year-old Francisco Javier Alfaro.
Across Mexico, more than 10,780 people have been killed since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the drug cartels in December 2006.