A 5-year-girl and her grandmother were killed by armed robbers in the eastern Guatemalan town of El Progreso, authorities said Wednesday.

"According to the preliminary investigation, armed men entered the residence with the intent to rob. Apparently there was resistance on the part of sexagenarian Everilda Carrillo de Ruano, the girl's grandmother, who suffered serious injuries," a police spokesman said.

The assailants then grabbed the youngster, evidently planning to demand a ransom for her return, the spokesman said.

Hours later, however, the girl was found dead near her home, while Carrillo de Ruano died in the emergency room at El Progreso hospital.

Police suggested the intruders killed the child because she was crying.

Authorities are investigating whether the crime has any connection to the extortion gangs that have been preying on shopkeepers in the surrounding province of Jutiapa.

Guatemala suffers an average of 15 homicides per day, making it one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America. EFE