This story is over 5 years old.


Two Bodies Tested for Links to the Ayotzinapa Case do not Belong to the Missing Students

The government’s relaunch of its previously discredited investigation into the fate of the 43 missing students appears to be gaining the confidence of their parents. Meanwhile, forced disappearances continue to pile up.
Photo via Anadolu Agency/Getty

Mexican investigators said tests have ruled out that two recently found bodies belong to any of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers' college who disappeared in September 2014 in the southern state of Guerrero.

The attorney general's office had said that the bodies were found this week during a search operation between the town of Cocula and Iguala, the city where local police first attacked and then abducted the students who they allegedly handed over to a local drug trafficking gang.


Attorney General Arely Gómez informed parents of the disappeared students about the new findings at a private meeting on Thursday that was also attended by a group of independent experts set up by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to follow the case.

After the meeting parents refused to comment on the details of the new information but told reporters they were satisfied that the case was progressing.

Ángela Buitrago, one of the external experts, said that while there was evidence to link the bodies to the investigation into what happened to the students, only DNA and other tests could confirm this.

Vidulfo Rosales sent out a message to journalists on Friday night saying that the attorney general's office had "determined that the human remains found in Cocula do not belong to any of the 43 students disappeared in Iguala."

Related: Ayotzinapa: A Timeline of the Mass Disappearance that Has Shaken Mexico

The disappearance of the students 16 months ago sparked a national protest movement that was fueled by the government's obviously inadequate investigation that concluded that the victims were incinerated to little more than ashes in a garbage dump on the same night they were abducted. The experts provided a detailed critique of that investigation in a report released last September.

Growing pressure on the government eventually led to the relaunching of the official investigation in December that has begun to gain the trust of the students' parents.


But at the same time as the Ayotzinapa case now finally appears to be moving forward, the numbers of new forced disappearances keep piling up.

Five men and a 16-year-old girl disappeared in the southern state of Veracruz on the weekend in the town of Tierra Blanca.

Video footage shows the victims being abducted by state police officers. Even so, the officers were not arrested until after relatives of the missing began to make a noise in the media.

Mexican and international human rights groups and officials have been drawing attention to the apparent inability of the Mexican authorities to resolve the crisis of disappearances that began to take off in the context of the country's drug wars.

An Amnesty International report on enforced disappearances in Mexico released on Thursday says there is a lack of skills and political will to solve the problem.

Related: Inside the Mexican College Where 43 Students Vanished After a Violent Encounter With Police

"The investigations do not appear to be aimed at uncovering the truth about what happened, the authorities responses are limited to carrying out actions that contribute little to the inquiry," the report says. "This type of investigation appears to consist of merely going through the motions, and appears to be destined from the outset to lead nowhere."

According to official statistics there are currently about 27,000 missing people in Mexico. An undetermined number are victims of forced disappearance, in which state actors are involved.

Follow Alan Hernández on Twitter: @alanpasten