Mexico questions allegations of independent forensic team

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2015 6:06 PM
Mexico questions allegations of independent forensic team

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's attorney general's office on Monday questioned assertions by an Argentine-led team of forensics experts who expressed doubts about the government's conclusion that 43 missing college students were all killed and their bodies burned.

The victims' families held a news conference Monday siding with the Argentines, and saying they believe their sons are still alive. One of the mothers, who identified herself only as Maria de Jesus, said "our sons are alive, we feel they are alive."

The Argentine Forensic Anthropologists team suggested Saturday that the Mexican government made errors in developing the genetic profiles of 16 relatives and failed to properly secure crime scenes.

On Monday, the attorney general's office shot back in a statement that the Argentine team was not sufficiently specialized to question its investigation.

"The reports (of the attorney general's office) are valid and (the Argentine team's) opinions with respect to other disciplines would appear to be more speculation than certainties," the statement said.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said last month that municipal police in Iguala detained the students on Sept. 26, then turned them over to the Guerreros Unidos cartel, which killed them, burned their bodies at a garbage dump near Cocula and threw the remains in a river.

The Argentine team said the Mexican government presented biased analyses of the evidence to support its conclusion. The independent investigators said they did not rule out the possibility that some students were killed as described by the government, but they did not find scientific evidence in the Cocula garbage dump to support it.

They also said they had found human remains at the dump that were not the students, indicated by dental prosthetics that none of the students had. The attorney general's office said that evidence is still being studied and that neither the families nor the Argentine team had provided medical, physical or dental records of the students.

"It is unacceptable that in the face of the accumulation of evidence, forensics, confessions, statements and investigations, they try to sow doubt that in this place about 40 people were killed and incinerated, corroborated by materials and scientific examinations carried out there by the attorney general's office," the statement said.

So far, only one student has been identified through DNA.

The Argentine team said that government forensic experts made errors in developing the genetic profiles from blood samples taken by family members. The attorney general's office said Monday there was just one "administrative error of transcription," which was corrected and did not affect the outcome of sophisticated tests carried out in Innsbruck, Austria.