Mexican authorities said on Tuesday that they have identified the remains of a second of the 43 students who disappeared in September 2014.
Omar Gomez Trejo, head of the special unit of the Attorney General’s Office charged with reinvestigating the case, said that new remains found in November were subjected to DNA analysis this year at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
Last month, the university informed investigators that one of the bone fragments was identified as belonging to student Christian Alfonso Rodriguez Telumbre of Tixtla, Guerrero.
The conclusion was analysed by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, which has been advising the Attorney General’s Office, and they concurred.
On September 26, 2014, students from the teachers’ college at Ayotzinapa in the southern state of Guerrero were abducted by local police in the town of Iguala. They were then allegedly turned over to a local gang.
In January 2015, then-Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced that the investigation showed the students had been burned in a massive fire at a garbage dump in Cocula, Guerrero and their ashes tossed into the San Juan River. He dubbed the conclusion the “historic truth”.
Experts dismissed various aspects of the government’s story and the families never accepted it.
Rodriguez’s bone fragment was located in Cocula, Guerrero, but not at the dump or the river.
Gomez said the fragments were found at another site called Butchers Ravine about a half-mile (0.8km) from the dump.
“It was not tossed or found in the Cocula dump, nor in the San Juan River like the previous administration held up publicly and legally,” Gomez said. “With this new discovery … the historic truth is done.” He said they were still investigating how the remains ended up in that location.
Case of 43 Ayotzinapa missing students unresolved five years on (2:02)
It is only the second time remains have been positively identified for one of the missing students. The first was Alexander Mora, whose family was informed that his remains were identified in December 2014.
Gomez said he travelled to Rodríguez’s home town Sunday to tell his family.
The Attorney General’s Office plans to send more recovered fragments to the University of Innsbruck for testing, Gomez said.