MEXICO CITY — Drug gang members have described a horrific effort to make 43 teachers college students disappear, detailing an industrial-scale effort involving piling their bodies like cord wood on a pyre that burned for 15 hours and then wading into the ashes to pulverize, bag and dispose of remaining teeth and bones. Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam laid out Friday what investigators think happened to the students who have not been seen since being attacked by police Sept. 26 in the southern city of Iguala.
He played video of presumed gang members confessing, and another video showed hundreds of charred fragments of bone and teeth that had been dumped in and along the San Juan River in the neighboring town of Cocula. According to confessions, the students were driven to killing grounds in a dump truck so tightly packed about 15 of the young men suffocated to death. The others were then slain, apparently shot to death before being burned.
Authorities say the high level of degradation caused by the fire makes identification difficult, and they are sending remains to a specialized laboratory in Austria. Some 74 people have been detained so far in the case, including Iguala's Mayor and his wife, who have been found to have ties to organized crime. Parents reacting to Murillo Karam's report said they have lost trust in anything the government says.
"As long as there are no results, our sons are alive," said Felipe de la Cruz, the father of one of the disappeared. "Today they're trying to close the case this way ... a blatant way to further our torture by the federal government."
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