Investigators have found a bone fragment belonging to one of the 43 student teachers who disappeared in Mexico in 2014, the Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday, only the second set of remains to be definitively identified in a case that has roiled the country.
The abduction and apparent massacre of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in September 2014 battered Mexico’s reputation and became a symbol of the country’s failure to tackle chronic gang violence and corruption.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office 19 months ago, pledging to shed light on the crime after the last government’s conclusions about the case were widely criticized.
Prosecutors announced the find of the bone fragment of Christian Alfonso Rodriguez Telumbre as they again questioned central parts of the previous official story.
Omar Gomez, the prosecutor who has overseen a fresh probe into the case, said investigators from Austria’s University of Innsbruck identified the bone, which was among remains found in the Cocula municipality of Guerrero state last November.
“This is a new era that breaks with the false narrative which shut down more possibilities to search and to find,” he told reporters. “More than five years after the incident, human remains belonging to one of the victims have been identified.”
After their abduction by corrupt police in the southwestern city of Iguala, the students were killed and incinerated by gang members at a waste dump in Cocula, according to the original account.
But the fragment, whose identification was confirmed by an Argentine forensic team, was not found at the Cocula dump, Gomez said.
In late 2014, Mexico announced it had identified the remains of one of the students, Alexander Mora. Subsequent evidence of a second student was never definitively confirmed.