Less than two weeks ago Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam announced that the search for 43 college students, who were kidnapped by corrupt police officers and then handed over to drug cartel executioners in Iguala, Guerrero on Sept. 26, had shifted to a municipal trash dump in the neighboring town of Cocula. That decision was based upon preliminary statements taken from three persons who had just been arrested in the case, each one of whom admitted participation in the crimes. Mexico hints at imminent break in search for the 43.
In a lengthy press conference today, after first meeting with grief stricken families, Karam elaborated on the confessions of those three detainees, all of whom admitted to working for Guerreros Unidos.
Near midnight on the evening of Sept. 26 trucks delivered more than 40 persons to the area. About 15 were already dead, some from asphyxia, and the rest were shot at the scene, according to the men arrested, who recounted in great detail for federal investigators the sequence of events.
The men burned the bodies of the students and then pulverized their bones, placing all the remains in plastic bags and discarding them initially in a ravine. Later they were instructed by superiors to toss the bags into the San Juan River, which runs through Cocula. Some of the bags were found, but because only ash, dental and minute bone fragments remain, DNA identification will prove difficult if not impossible. Scuba divers from Mexico's naval force participated in the search of the San Juan.
Forensic experts at the University of Innsbruck, Austria have agreed to help, according to Karam, but he emphasized it is impossible to say how long such an analysis might take, or predict the likelihood of success.
Karam did not say whether his Oct. 20 interview with Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, a Roman Catholic priest of the Carmelite Order, had directly aided the ongoing federal investigation. Mexican priest: 43 college students were "burned alive."
The attorney general also announced that four of another 30 incinerated remains unearthed from drug cartel burial sites near Iguala just a few days after the event have now been identified. While none are those of the missing students, all four victims were also executed by corrupt local police on the payroll of the Guerreros Unidos, the dominant organized crime presence in the state. Karam offered no motive for those crimes, but said that 74 Iguala and Cocula police officers are now in custody in connection with the two cases.
"The government is the greatest plague, and the people a perfect victim" - Michoacán, 2013
Oct. 23 - "Mary of the Angels" and her husband were "brains" behind Iguala executions, kidnappings
Nov. 4 - Former Iguala mayor and wife arrested in Mexico City
Nov. 6 - "Imperial couple" of Iguala gets improved quarters in tough Mexican prison
President Peña Nieto and his attorney general have been unable to placate families of the missing, despite personal meetings both men have had with loved ones. The incident is consuming - some say overwhelming - the PRI administration, with no end in sight. After Karam's announcement, EPN tweeted, "Mexico feels a profound sadness" - and promised firm punishment for those responsible.
© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.