Mexico started off the New Year with a string of shootouts, killings and the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy.

Police in Tijuana said the boy was kidnapped when he ran back to his home to pick something up for a New Year's Eve dinner at his grandparents house a few blocks away.

When the boy didn't return, his mother went looking for him and found the door of her house forced open. A note said her son had been taken and that she would be killed if she stayed at her home.

Police said in a statement Thursday that they have no suspects or motive for the kidnapping and threats.

Also in Tijuana, less than an hour into 2009, 26-year-old Saul Tamayo Hernandez was celebrating the New Year outside his house with his family when gunmen arrived and killed him.

In the western town of La Huerta, meanwhile, a shootout between rival families at a New Year's party left four dead, and a clash between soldiers and alleged drug traffickers in Chihuahua state reportedly killed three smugglers.

And in the northern city of Monterrey, prosecutors accused former Nuevo Leon state policeman Aldo Perales, 34, of leading a gang of bank robbers and participating in more than 30 robberies.

Police say he has confessed to at least three bank robberies, but denied carrying out others.

Officials estimate that more than 5,300 people died across Mexico in organized crime-related slayings in the first 11 months of 2008.