Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Iguala student remains unlikely ever to be identified
The office of Mexico's federal attorney general (PGR) reported today that human remains found last fall in a trash dump near Cocula in Guerrero state are unlikely ever to be identified.
The remains, which consisted of little more than charred bone fragments and teeth, are presumably those of 43 college students who were kidnapped in Iguala Sept 26 and turned over to executioners on the payroll of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel. On Nov. 7 Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam reported that the crimes were carried out on the direct orders of the city's ex-mayor, who last week was charged with homicide in the case.
All hope fades for families of 43 missing students. Both former mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez and his wife María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa are alleged to have been key operatives of Guerreros Unidos. She has been charged with organized crime participation, money laundering and exerting control over illegally acquired funds, but not with the murder of any of the students. Prime suspect in Iguala student massacre moves one step closer to trial. The case has become a cause célèbre in Mexico, and put the administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto to its severest political test since taking office Dec. 1, 2012.
The human remains found at Cocula, some of which had been bagged and tossed into a nearby river, were ultimately sent to forensic experts at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. One victim was identified in December. DNA confirmation made on first of Mexico's 43 missing college students. But analysts have notified Mexico's PGR that due to the intense heat applied to the students' bodies, purportedly by a massive fire that was kept burning for up to 48 hours, a genetic profile could not be obtained on the other remains. "An insufficient amount of DNA was isolated for analysis by reason of the excessive heat," the Innsbruck investigators noted, "at least using routine methods of analysis."
Scientists did not rule out more sophisticated tests to determine the identities of the Cocula victims, however, and the attorney general's office has requested that those begin immediately. The process could take at least another three months.
Federal authorities say the government has spent $290,000 USD to date in an effort to identify the remains.
Almost 100 police officers in and around Iguala and Cocula have been arrested and charged with conspiracy in connection with the kidnappings and homicides, all of whom allegedly worked for Guerreros Unidos and/or the leftist Democratic Revolution Party administration of mayor Abarca Velázquez.
Only one student has been identified to date
Oct. 20 - Mexican priest: 43 college students were "burned alive"
Dec. 8 - Argentine forensic experts offer guarded prognosis for ID of remaining 42 Iguala students
Dec. 10 - DEA arrests Guerreros Unidos drug cartel operatives, in major Chicago trafficking ring
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at 11:45 AM