Report: Mexican Gov’t Mishandled Investigation of 43 Missing Students

A protest in Mexico City for the 43 missing students, December 2014 (Somos El Medio/Flickr)

A protest in Mexico City for the 43 missing students, December 2014 (Somos El Medio/Flickr)

The Mexican government severely botched its investigation into the disappearance (and presumed murder) of 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero last September, according to lawyers reviewing the case.

From Reuters:

The government’s team lost evidence, did not properly investigate some leads and failed to provide scientific proof to back up its account that the students were abducted and incinerated and their remains dumped in a river, lawyers familiar with the case documents say.

The government says its investigation is thorough and proves the students were murdered by a drug cartel in league with corrupt local police who mistook them for members of a rival gang and burned them to ashes at a rural garbage dump.

But evidence of flaws in government case documents reviewed by Reuters include how municipal and federal police and the army knew of the students’ movements before they were abducted in the southwestern city of Iguala last September.

That undermines the government’s assertion that local police confused the students with members of a criminal group called Los Rojos (The Reds), rivals of the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang that it says murdered them.

Other failures of the investigation include either lost or unreviewed security footage of the missing students, the improper storage of unexamined physical evidence, and the failure to capture known suspects including the local police chief Felipe Flores.

On Tuesday another mass grave was uncovered near Monterrey in the northern state of Nuevo León, containing at least 31 bodies.

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