Mexican authorities have identified the remains of one of 43 students who disappeared in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, as Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre, officials announced Tuesday.
The identification, with the help of DNA testing, is a major breakthrough in the case and comes more than five years after the students vanished.
The 43 students from a teacher’s college in Guerrero state suddenly disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014.
Investigations by the former Mexican administration of Enrique Peña Nieto concluded they were captured by police and handed over to the criminal group Guerreros Unidos. Their bodies were burned in a landfill and then thrown into a river in the municipality of Cocula — a theory that was termed, “the historical truth.”
But an investigation by Argentine forensic experts contradicted that hypothesis, causing the entire disappearance to be shrouded in mystery for years. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador vowed to find out the truth, creating a commission which reopened the investigation and started from scratch.
This new discovery comes from six pieces of remains which were sent to the laboratory at the University of Innsbruck in Vienna, Austria, where they were analyzed for months, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office said on Twitter.
The evidence, they said, was not found in the landfill or the river, further contradicting the previous administration’s investigation. Instead, the remains were found about 800 meters from “where the historical truth is created,” the attorney general’s office said.
“Without a doubt this marks the beginning of the new route in the investigation that not only collapsed the so-called historical truth, but also generates the conditions for the indications, the evidence, the investigations carried out to clarify the events that unfortunately happened in Ayotzinapa,” Mexico’s undersecretary of Human Rights Alejandro Encinas said.