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Mexico Attorney General Says Missing Students Believed Dead


Mexican authorities appear to have caught a big break in the case of 43 students who went missing in September. The countries top prosecutor says new suspects have confessed to killing the students. Mexico's attorney general revealed the details in a news conference today. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Stepping before live TV cameras, a somber Jesus Murillo Karam said the three new suspects told investigators that they had received a large group of people - more than 40 - from local police officers on the night of September 26. They transported the group to a municipal dump where they murdered them and burned their bodies. The fire lasted more than 12 hours. Murillo Karam says the badly burned remains will have to be sent to outside experts to identify them. He said he didn't know how long that would take.


JESUS MURILLO KARAM: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: I know the enormous pain the information we've obtained causes the family members, says Murillo Karam. It's a pain we all share.

The case of the missing students has rocked the country for weeks, leading to daily nation-wide protests. The students, all from a poor rural teaching college, were abducted in the town of Iguala in the southern state of Guererro. Authorities say the students were attacked on orders of the local mayor who believed they had come to disrupt a speech by his wife. The mayor and his wife were captured this week, hiding out in Mexico City. Four students and two bystanders were killed when corrupt police officers attacked the students in Iguala. The cops then handed over 43 surviving students to a local drug gang. Authorities say the drug gang members killed the students believing they were rival traffickers. Filipe de la Cruz, a father of one of the missing students, said without proof, he doesn't believe his son is dead.

FELIPE DE LA CRUZ: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: For us, he said, this is just another way for the government to continue torturing the families. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.
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