Remains of one of the 43 missing college students in Mexico have been identified, NPR’s Mexico correspondent Carrie Kahn reports for our Newscast division.
DNA tests showed that bone fragments matched a student identified as Alexander Mora Venancio, one of the 43 students who went missing in September, allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a drug gang that was working with local police. The identification was announced on the Facebook page of the teaching school attended by the students, Kahn says, as well as by multiple media outlets.
As Carrie has previously reported, the students’ disappearance highlighted “the corruption and collusion between politicians and drug traffickers in many parts of rural Mexico today.”
The case has sparked sometimes-violent protests, with demonstrators expressing fury over how the government has handled the investigation.
Carrie summarized the events last month:
According to authorities, the students were attacked by local police in Iguala on orders from the mayor. Six people died in the confrontation. The corrupt cops then handed over the surviving 43 students to a local drug gang. According to the confession of the three suspects now in custody, it was the leader of the gang who ordered the mass murder believing the students were members of a rival trafficking group.
As we previously reported on this blog, after the confession, Mexican authorities obtained remains that, at the time, they were unable to identify:
Authorities recovered black plastic garbage bags containing ash and bones. Karam said the remains matched what authorities were told by the suspects, who described in detail how they loaded the students into two trucks, killed them, dismembered and burned their bodies and then tossed bags full of remains into a river.
“The high level of degradation caused by the fire in the remains make it very difficult to extract the DNA that will allow an identification,” [Attorney General Jesus Murillo] Karam said at a news conference.