Mexico sends remains to Austria in missing students case

Mexican investigators sent 16 sets of human remains to Austria for genetic analysis, the government said Thursday, to see if they match with any of the 43 students who went missing in 2014 in a case that sparked international horror. 

A team of representatives from the Mexican prosecutor’s office and Argentinian forensic anthropologists delivered the 16 bone remains to the University of Innsbruck. 

They had been found in an area called Barranca de la Carniceria del Ejido de Cocula, in the southern state of Guerrero, where the students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ school went missing. 

This marked the third shipment of human remains related to the Ayotzinapa case sent to Innsbruck. 

The university has already identified remains of some of the students, including Christian Alfonso Rodriguez Telumbre and Alexander Mora Venancio.

And prosecutors under former president Enrique Pena Nieto had said that they had evidence pointing to the identification of another, Jhosivani Guerrero.

A total of 82 people have been arrested in relation to the case, while nine arrest warrants are waiting to be carried out and another 14 have yet to be released, Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas told reporters.  

“We would like to have more progress, but I believe we are progressing in a consistent manner,” Encinas said after a meeting between President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and relatives of the 43 students. 

But the students’ parents are still “unsatisfied” as they wait for “conclusive results” on the whereabouts of their children, the families’ lawyer Vidulfo Rosales told AFP. 

The students went missing on the night of the September 26, 2014, when they had commandeered five buses to travel to a protest, but were stopped by corrupt police officers in the city of Iguala, Guerrero and handed over to a drug cartel.

Prosecutors initially said the cartel mistook the students for members of a rival gang and killed them before incinerating their bodies at a garbage dump and tossing the remains in a river.

An official report presented in January 2015 by Pena Nieto’s government was rejected by relatives of the students as well as independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Lopez Obrador’s government has rejected its predecessor’s version of events and expanded the investigation.