Mexico Mourns Missing after One Year

Madeleine Hillyer
International News Writer

It has been one year since the forced disappearance of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa, Mexico and families of the disappeared still want answers to the details of their sons’ disappearances.

Rallies have been held in Mexico City and around the world to honor the students who have disappeared, with protestors calling on Mexican authorities to conduct a more thorough investigation of last September’s events and to allow an independent investigation by an international board to find the truth.

On Sept. 26, 2014, 43 students from an educational training college were on a bus traveling to Iguala, Mexico for a conference.

On the way to the conference, their bus was boarded by local police and the students were forced to leave. As reported by CNN, survivor accounts also add that some students on the bus were shot at by local police, including one student who was reportedly killed.

The Mexican government denies this account, saying that, while the students were removed from the bus by the local police, they were not harmed by them. The government’s investigation has concluded that the students were removed from the bus by local police but were then handed over to the drug gang Guerillas Unidos (United Warriors).

The government reports that they were later killed and their bodies were burned at a waste disposal site in Cocula. Although two sets of remains were positively identified as bodies of the missing students, no other remains have been found or identified.

There are many skeptics of the conclusions of the Mexican government’s investigation into the disappearance of these students. Many believe that the students were not handed over to the gang Guerillas Unidos but were harmed by the police themselves.

Another widely contested claim made by the government is that the students were burned at the waste disposal site.

According to CNN, many international officials and outside investigators have said it is not possible that these bodies were burned in the way the government has reported.

A report made by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission has found that if the bodies were burned in the way that the government maintains that they were, there would have been flames reaching 7 meters high and there would have been towers of smoke up to 300 meters high which could have been seen for miles around.

Neither of these were seen, which has caused critics to doubt the findings and the integrity of the government’s investigation.

The government has rebuked these critics, adding that they have made over 100 arrests in this case and that they are doing all that they can to bring justice to the missing students and their families.

Although this may be true, many families and protesters will not believe that a truthful and complete investigation has been done until the government steps aside and allows an international committee to review the government’s findings.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 6th print edition.

Contact Madeleine at


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