THESSALONIKI, Greece — Two women and a girl who were believed to be migrants were found dead with their throats slashed Wednesday near Greece's northeast border with Turkey, Greek authorities said.
The victims appeared to be of North African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin, but their nationalities and identities were unknown, police said. An initial examination of the bodies suggested the three were killed about four days earlier, Coroner Pavlos Pavlidis said.
"It is clearly a criminal act," Pavlidis told The Associated Press. "They were found with their hands bound, each body about two or three meters away from the other. Their throats were cut right across."
The woman appeared to be 30 to 35-years-old, the coroner said. One of the younger victims was aged 17-21, the other under 15, he said. DNA tests are planned to determine if the three were related, Pavlidis said.
Police said a farmer found the victims on the Greek side of the River Evros, which runs between Greece and Turkey, east of the town of Didymoteicho. The Evros area is known as an entry point for migrants trying to enter Greece illegally by land.
Greek officials said the number of people arrested at the land border with Turkey so far this year is about double the total figure for 2017, although the sea route to the eastern Aegean Sea islands remains more popular.
Greece is a major entry point for refugees or economic migrants seeking better lives in Europe, with more than 24,000 arrivals so far this year.
Most plan to continue on to more prosperous European countries, but are blocked by a series of closed borders in the Balkan.