Missing film students dissolved in acid after case of mistaken identity

The students were last seen in Tonalá after their car broke down and they were later kidnapped by at least six people, who tortured and killed them

Missing film students dissolved in acid after case of mistaken identity
The gruesome end to the case prompted protests across Mexico - Photo: Jorge Alberto Mendoza/EL UNIVERSAL
English 25/04/2018 11:46 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City REUTERS Actualizada 12:38
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Three missing film students were killed last month in the western state of Jalisco and their bodies dissolved in acid after criminals confused them with members of a rival gang, authorities said Monday.

Javier Salomón Aceves, 25, Jesús Daniel Díaz, 20, and Marco Francisco Ávalos, 20, were last seen in the municipality of Tonalá after their car broke down and they were later kidnapped by at least six people, who tortured and killed them, according to Jalisco state prosecutors.

“Subsequently their bodies were dissolved in acid so that no trace of them remained,” the state prosecutors office said.

State prosecutor Raul Sánchez said that two people had been arrested so far in the investigation.

Prosecutors said the youths were confused with members of another gang by gunmen from the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which has become the most powerful in Mexico, according to U.S. authorities.

The disappearance of the three film students drew outrage from the international filmmaking industry, including Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro and filmmakers Diego Luna and Gael García among others.

On Twitter, Guillermo del Toro wrote in Spanish: “Words are not enough to understand the dimension of this madness. Three students are killed and dissolved in acid. The reason ‘why’ is unthinkable, the ‘way’ is frightening.”

“In Mexico, we live horrified. Here, three young people can be murdered in an atrocious way, because it is possible, because nothing happens. How enraging!” wrote Diego Luna.

The gruesome end to the case prompted protests across Mexico on Tuesday as thousands marched the streets of Guadalajara and Mexico City demanding immediate actions to end violence.

Criminal groups in Mexico often kidnap, torture, dismember and even dissolve their victims in acid and many of the remains are dumped in clandestine graves.

In 2014, 43 students disappeared in the southern state of Guerrero and the government said they were kidnapped by police who handed them over to a criminal group that killed them and burned their bodies.

International observers objected to the government’s investigation and the case shook the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who has seen his popularity decline sharply amid corruption allegations and a spike in violence.

More than 25,000 people were murdered last year in Mexico. Homicides hit their highest level in records going back 20 years.
 

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