Wannabe actress Carmen Yarira Noriega Esparza, 27, disappeared in Mexico City almost a year ago – amid fears that she had been kidnapped and sold as a sex slave.

But her body – said by police to be in a “high state of putrefaction” — was discovered in the water tank at the apartment block where she had lived prior to her sudden disappearance following a trip to the gym last February.

Police are now reported to be focusing their inquiries on her relationship with a wealthy businessman who was paying the rent on her flat, and whom she had dumped after starting a new relationship with a local lawyer.

Carmen’s worried friends and family launched a social media campaign to find her after initial police inquiries failed to detect any trace of the psychology graduate.

One friend, Javier Paz, 30, quoted in the Daily Mirror, said: “She was a talented and beautiful woman who dreamed of being an actress. When she failed to show up at the clinic where she worked we all thought that she might have been kidnapped and sold off into the sex trafficking industry, but it seems that her body was back in her apartment block the whole time.”

The gruesome discovery of Carmen’s body has also stunned residents whose domestic water from the tank had acquired a strange taste from the young woman’s slowly decaying remains.