Ayotzinapa: Mexico to send bone fragments to Austria for DNA analysis

The 43 students from the rural teachers' college at Ayotzinapa in the southern state of Guerrero were abducted by corrupt local police in the town of Iguala

Ayotzinapa: Mexico to send bone fragments to Austria for DNA analysis
Relatives of the 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' School, hold banners during a protest - Photo Alfredo Estrella/AFP
English 25/09/2020 12:48 Mexico City Alexis Ortiz/EL UNIVERSAL & Maria Verza/AP Actualizada 12:48

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Families of 43 students who were kidnapped in southern Mexico on September 26, 2014, are still demanding answers about their sons’ whereabouts as the sixth anniversary of the crime approaches.

Relatives gathered Thursday outside Mexico’s Supreme Court, holding photos of their missing sons and banners demanding justice.

Some of the lawyers in the case hope that a new investigation report to be released on Saturday’s anniversary will include information on federal police or soldiers’ possible involvement in the mass abduction.

“There is enough proof to proceed against these people,” said Santiago Aguirre, a lawyer for the PRODH human rights center, noting that new testimony and tracing records of cellphones backed up the theory that “without doubt, they were part of the scheme.”

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The 43 students from the rural teachers' college at Ayotzinapa in the southern state of Guerrero were abducted by corrupt local police in the town of Iguala. They were then allegedly turned over to a local gang that killed them and purportedly burned their bodies.

But burnt bone fragments found near a local garbage dump have been matched to only two of the students.

Clemente Rodríguez is the father of one of the two students whose DNA profiles matched some of the bone fragments. But Rodríguez is still demanding to know exactly what happened and who was responsible for the death of his son, Christian Alonso Rodríguez Telumbre.

“They have to give us something concrete, some progress,” said Rodríguez.

Many of the suspects arrested in the case were later released, and many claimed they had been tortured by police or the military. In March, a judge issued an arrest warrant for Tomas Zerón, the former head of investigations for the Attorney General’s Office, for alleged violations in the investigation of the case.

Zerón and five other former officials face charges including torture, forced disappearance, and judicial misconduct.

Zerón was at the center of the government’s widely criticized investigation, which has failed to definitively determine what happened to the students. Two independent teams of experts have cast doubt on the insistence of Mexican officials that the students' bodies were incinerated in a huge fire at the trash dump.

The students attended the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa. They were in Iguala to hijack buses to use for transportation to a rally in Mexico City.

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They were attacked on the buses by local police and allegedly handed over to members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel, some of whose members confessed to killing them and burning the bodies.

Implicating soldiers in the case would be difficult for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who praises and relies on the army to a degree unparalleled in recent Mexican history. However, his administration has pledged to get to the bottom of the mystery and prosecute anyone responsible.

The federal government will send six bone remains to the University of Innsbruck in Austria in order to determine if they correspond to any of the 43 Ayotzinapa students.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Vidulfo Rosales, the lawyer of the families of the missing students, said that the six bone remains will be sent to Austria as soon as the health emergency allows it.

“There are six remains that were analyzed in recent days, which will be sent to Innsbruck when borders reopen,” said Vidulfo Rosales.

He added that the remains were located in several points near the Barranca de la Carnicería, the place where Christian Rodríguez Telumbre’s bone was found.

The University of Innsbruck is the same that identified the late student’s bone and the one in which the federal government has relied to move on with the investigation on the disappearance of the students.