Mexico says it finally knows the fate of 43 college students missing since September: They were murdered, burned in a massive fire, and dumped in a river, authorities said today. The nation's attorney general met with relatives and told them that detained gang members filled in the grisly details: Local police attacked the student protesters on Sept. 26 in the city of Iguala, killing six and turning over the 43 surviving young men to a local gang, reports the AP. The gang then reportedly killed the students and set their bodies on fire at a landfill in the neighboring town of Cocula to try to destroy the evidence. It took 14 hours.
"The fire lasted from midnight to 2pm the next day," says Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, as quoted by AFP. "The criminals could not handle the bodies until 5pm due to the heat." Gang members then threw the charred remains into a river, he says, and authorities have so far found six bags' full. DNA tests are pending, and relatives frustrated by previous false leads say they are holding out hope until those tests are complete. Dozens of people have been arrested in the case, including the mayor of Iguala and his wife. (Read more Mexico stories.)