The Slatest

Gang Members Allegedly Confess to Killing 43 Mexican Students, Burning Their Bodies

Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam offers a press conference in Mexico City on Friday.

Photo by Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images

It appears to be the worst possible end to the case of the 43 missing students that has gripped Mexico for weeks. The 43 students who disappeared in southern Mexico in September were apparently abducted by police, handed over to a local drug gang that then killed them, burned their bodies and threw their remains in a river. That is, at least, according to the country’s attorney general, who gave a detailed news conference on the issue on Friday. Some parents of the missing students aren’t buying the claims, and say they will only believe it once DNA tests prove that the remains are, in fact, of the students. That may be difficult though, because it may be impossible to extract DNA from the badly burned remains, reports CNN.

Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam did give what amounts to the most detailed account of the likely fate of the teachers’ college students, notes the Washington Post. And the details are horrifying. Drug gang members allegedly told officilas how they massacred the students who were delivered to them by police and then burned the bodies for 15 hours. The students, who had clashed with police during a protest, were loaded into police trucks, and 15 of them were allegedly already dead or unconscious when they were handed over to the gang. Those who were still alive were shot at point-blank range.

This marks the latest chapter in a series of events that has horrified a country already used to huge levels of violence and crime. The way in which corrupt government officials appear to have colluded with drug gangs to make such a large group of young students simply disappear has led to protests in which tens of thousands of people took to the streets to demand answers. Around 74 people have been arrested in the case, including dozens of police officers and a local mayor who is suspected of being the mastermind behind the abduction, notes Reuters.