Report: Mexico's Missing Students May Not Be Dead

Panel finds no evidence they were killed, but it does offer motive for murder
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2015 9:07 AM CDT
Report: Mexico's Missing Students May Not Be Dead
A woman shows a hand-painted red hand in front of a banner that says: "Justice for Ayotzinapa" during a march for the 43 missing students in Mexico City, July 26, 2015.   (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

For months, the case of 43 missing college students has been considered closed, at least by Mexico's government. In January, the then-attorney general said all were killed by a drug gang and burned in the state of Guerrero. "We thought, 'The entire country is going to believe what he just said and we will be left alone, no one will go out to the streets and protest anymore,'" a mother tells the New York Times. "And that's what happened." In a new report, however, a panel appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights slams the government's investigation and finds no forensic evidence that the students were actually killed, per the Huffington Post. It also shoots down previous theories as to motive—that police attacked the students to keep them from protesting at an event, or that they were mistaken as rival gang members—and supplies a new one.

It notes one of the buses students commandeered in Iguala may have been carrying heroin or drug money; narcotics have previously been transported to the US from Mexico in passenger buses. Though the federal investigation mentions four buses, surviving students say they took five but were forced out of one by police; the driver claimed students abandoned the bus, fearing it was in bad condition. When the IACHR panel tried to examine the vehicle, it was given photos of a bus that didn't match students' descriptions. In a sign that the "administration may be starting to recognize that the chasm between the people and their president has never been greater," per the Times, President Enrique Peña Nieto told his cabinet to examine the report, while his attorney general has allowed the panel to remain in Mexico to continue its investigation. (More Mexico stories.)

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