Authorities with evidence of 43 missing Mexican students killed and incinerated

January 28, 2015 1:48 pm
Investigators are now certain that 43 college students missing in
since September were killed and incinerated after they were
seized by police in southern Guerrero state, the Mexican attorney
general says.

A relative of one of the 43 missing students at a protest in Mexico City last month. Photo / AP
It was the first time Jesus Murillo Karam said
definitely that all were dead, even though Mexican authorities have DNA
identification for only one student and a declaration from a laboratory
in Innsbruck, Austria, that it appears impossible to identify the
attorney general cited confessions and forensic evidence from an area
near a garbage dump where the occurred on September 26 that showed
the fuel and temperature of the fire were sufficient turn 43 bodies
into ashes.

“The evidence allows us to determine that the students were
kidnapped, killed, burned and thrown into the river,” Murillo Karam said
in a press conference that included a video reconstruction of the mass
slaying and of the investigation into the case.
He added that
“there is not a single shred of evidence that the army intervened …
not a single shred of evidence of the participation of the army”, as
relatives of the victims have claimed.
Murillo Karam’s
explanation seemed unlikely to quell the controversy and doubts about
the case, in which the federal government has been criticised for acting
slowly and callously.

Families’ anger

Thousands of people demonstrated in Mexico City on Monday night, demanding the students be returned alive.
attorney general has come under attack from many quarters, including
the students’ relatives and fire experts, who say the government’s
version of what happened is implausible.
hold portraits of the missing students as they protest in front of a
military base in Iguala, Mexico, last month. Photo / AP

Family members are still searching in hopes of finding the students alive.
Argentine Forensic Anthropologists, an independent team hired by
parents to work with federal investigators, told The Associated Press on
Sunday that there is still not “sufficient evidence” to link the
charred remains found by authorities in a river in the town of Cocula to
what happened at the garbage dump.
Valentin Cornelio Gonzalez,
30, brother-in-law of missing student Abel Garcia Hernandez, said the
shifting theories of what happened to the students have left him and
other family members not believing anything that officials say.
“On a personal level, it makes me mad because this is what they’ve always done,” he said of Tuesday’s announcement.
no chance that the parents are going to believe the PGR (saying) that
they’re dead. … They are going to look for them alive.”

Investigators’ evidence

Karam said the conclusion was made based on the testimony of a key
suspect arrested two weeks ago, Felipe Rodriguez Salgado, who said he
was called to get rid of the students. There are also 39 confessions.
on samples of gasoline, diesel and steel from burned tires, he said,
they concluded that the amount of heat from the fire and the location
could have kept the blaze going for hours, and that the remains were
crushed afterwards.
Masked protesters clash with military police at an army base in Iguala, Mexico, earlier this month. Photo / AP
say they were burned on the night of September 26 and over the next
day, and their incinerated remains were bagged up and thrown into a
nearby river.
The remains in the bags found in the river had traces of the garbage dump where the fire occurred, Murillo Karam added.
The scene of the crime was an 800m ravine that resembled a furnace, said criminal investigations chief Tomas Zeron.
Murillo Karam said the information was based as well on 386 declarations, 487 forensic tests, 16 raids and two reconstructions.
So far 99 people have been detained in connection with the crime, including the former mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca.

Gang motives

Karam said the motive was that the members of a local gang, the
Guerreros Unidos, believed the young men were rival gang members when
they hijacked some public transit buses in Iguala.
But many of the suspects testified that they knew the men were students.
students, known for commandeering buses and taking over toll booths to
support their leftist causes, said they were taking the buses for
transport to an upcoming demonstration in Mexico City.
thought they were infiltrated,” Murillo Karam said at the press
conference, adding that there is no indication that the students were
part of any criminal group.
The case has sparked protests inside
and outside Mexico over the four months since the students disappeared,
and has forced the Mexican government to turn its attention from touting
economic and education reforms to dealing with the country’s crime and
insecurity problems.

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