HomeNewsBriefMissing Mexico Students Burned in Army Crematorium?
BRIEF

Missing Mexico Students Burned in Army Crematorium?

HUMAN RIGHTS / 7 JAN 2015 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Researchers in Mexico have theorized that the bodies of the students who disappeared in Iguala may have been burned at an army crematorium, casting further doubts on the official version of an attack that has sparked protests around the country.

At a press conference in December, university researcher Jorge Antonio Montemayor Aldrete stated that the official version of the attacks -- which postulates that the students' bodies were burned in a bonfire at a trash dump -- is "not supported by physical, chemical, or biological facts" and that the evidence in the case indicates that the bodies were burned "at a high temperature in a modern crematorium." Montemayor also argued that a bonfire capable of burning 43 bodies would have required 33 tons of wood and would not have fit in the trash dump, reported EFE.

Following a journalistic investigation that implicated federal police and military personnel in the disappearance of the students, Montemayor and another university researcher hypothesized that the bodies were likely burned in an army crematorium. They have requested information on military crematoriums -- including crematorium logs and gas receipts -- to corroborate their theory, reported La Jornada.

Meanwhile, ten more municipal police have been arrested in connection to the case, bringing the total number of arrests up to around 90. Although Mexico's Attorney General has identified the mayor of Iguala and his wife as the intellectual authors of the crime, neither has yet been charged with the students' disappearances. The mayor's wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, was transferred to a federal prison on January 5 after being formally charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, reported the Associated Press.

InSight Crime Analysis

The theory postulated by Montemayor and Ugalde is among a growing body of information that undermines the official version of the attacks. In mid-December, a journalistic investigation based on videos, official documents, and witness testimonies indicated that federal police participated in the attacks with either the complicity or collaboration of the army. The investigation also unearthed evidence that the witness testimony holding up the official version of events may have been obtained using torture.  

The newest theory could also explain why only the remains of one student have been identified so far. If the students' bodies really were burned in a trash dump -- as Montemayor has pointed out -- there would likely be more forensic evidence at or near the site.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

This would not be the first time criminals have used crematoriums to dispose of their victims in Latin America. A faction of the paramilitary group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known as the Catatumbo Bloc, built and used crematoriums to destroy evidence of homicides in the early 2000s.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 29 JUL 2014

With Mexico preparing to launch one of President Enrique Peña Nieto's signature security initiatives -- the gendarmerie -- a new…

COLOMBIA / 10 JAN 2013

Mexico's crime lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is tightening his grip on the production of cocaine and other…

EXTORTION / 31 DEC 2014

Faced with the risks that infamous cargo train "the Beast" represents, many migrants have opted for other routes to the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…