Investigators are now certain that the 43 college students missing since September were killed and incinerated after they were seized by police in the southern state of Guerrero, the Mexican attorney general said Tuesday.
For the first time, Attornet General Jesús Murillo Karam officially states that the students are dead, even though Mexican authorities have DNA identification for only one of them and a declaration from a laboratory in Innsbruck, Austria, that it appears impossible to identify the others.
The attorney general cited confessions and forensic evidence from an area near a garbage dump where the Sept. 26 crime occurred, that showed the fuel and temperature of the fire were sufficient to 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 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 Mexican Armed Forces,” as relatives of the victims have claimed.
“They pretty much gave the same story as they had been given for the last two months. There are not many additional details,” said analyst Alejandro Hope. “They are searching for closure, but I’m not sure they’re going to get it.”
Thousands of people demonstrated in Mexico City on the night of Monday January 26th, demanding the students to be returned alive. Family members and parents were still searching in hope of finding their children alive.
Murillo Karam said the conclusion was made based on the testimony of a key suspect arrested two weeks ago, Felipe Rodríguez Salgado, who said he was called to get rid of the students. (Read the article on The Yucatan Times)
There are also 39 confessions. Based 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.
Authorities say they were burned the night of Sept. 26 and through the next day, and their remains were bagged up and thrown into a river.
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