Severed hands linked to R.I. killings, R.I.

March 28, 2001
(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) – Investigators say that body parts found in a car in Massachusetts came from the bodies of two men who were killed in Providence.

Four young men are being held in Massachusetts on charges of accessory to murder. They were arrested Sunday when a police officer pulled over their Jeep, noticed a bloody shirt in the car and found it was wrapped around a plastic bag containing severed hands.

A few hours later the bodies of Rafael Ortega, 20, and Michael Batista, 22, were found in their Providence apartment. They had been beaten and stabbed and their hands were cut off.

Prosecutors in Massachusetts say the four suspects planned to throw the body parts off a highway bridge into a tidal river.

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