Forensic experts have identified the remains of a third Mexican student from among the 43 whose murky disappearance in 2014 shocked the country, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Investigators sent bone fragments found in the southern state of Guerrero, where the teaching students went missing, to Austria for genetic analysis by the University of Innsbruck.
A set of remains was identified as those of Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz, said Omar Gomez, head of a special investigation unit dealing with the case.
The university’s experts have already identified the remains of two other students, Christian Alfonso Rodriguez Telumbre and Alexander Mora Venancio.
The students had commandeered five buses to travel to a demonstration, but were stopped by corrupt police in the city of Iguala and handed over to a drug cartel.
Prosecutors initially said the cartel mistook the students for members of a rival gang and killed them before incinerating their bodies at a garbage dump and tossing the remains in a ravine.
But an official report presented in January 2015 by the government of then president Enrique Pena Nieto was rejected by relatives as well as independent experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Gomez said that Guerrero’s vertebra did not show signs of having been highly exposed to fire.
He said that since November 2019, 180 pieces of bone had been recovered from the same site, and he would soon travel to Austria to deliver new remains for analysis.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to establish the “whole truth” behind the mass disappearance, which drew international condemnation.
The Center Prodh, a rights group representing the students’ families, said the latest development was a reminder that more progress was needed in the investigations “until we find the truth and punish both those responsible for the disappearance and those responsible for the manipulation.”
Mexico has asked Israel to arrest fugitive former top investigator Tomas Zeron over allegations of serious irregularities in the probe into one of the country’s worst human rights tragedies.
The Mexican government said in January that the ex-head of the Criminal Investigation Agency was seeking asylum in Israel, complicating extradition efforts.