Mexico City, Jan 28: Evidence and testimony "fully" confirm that all 43 of the students abducted on Sept 26 in the southern state of Guerrero were killed, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said.
Thanks to an extensive investigation, it "has been proven" that the 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers college were seized by municipal police in Iguala, Guerrero, and handed over to members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, who murdered the youths, burned the bodies at a dump in the nearby town of Cocula and dumped the bones into the San Juan River, the attorney general said.
Forensic tests show the bodies were incinerated in a pit 40 meters deep, he told a press conference.
The blaze fueled by tires and kindling, reached a temperature of 1,600 C and raged for more than 12 hours, Murillo Karam said.
The heat of the fire rendered most of the remains recovered from the river unsuitable for DNA testing and the 17 fragments sent to a specialised laboratory in Austria for analysis were "those that had the greatest possibility of being identified," he said.
The Austrian lab was able to match the remains to only one of the missing students, Alexander Mora.
Tests of the other remains using a new procedure are in progress, but the results will be slow in coming, the attorney general said.
The Ayotzinapa students were slain because Guerreros Unidos leaders believed that members of the rival Los Rojos cartel had infiltrated the teachers college, according to the government's account.
Murillo Karam, however, said on Tuesday that authorities have not been able to connect any of the students to "any criminal group."
While 99 people are in custody in connection with the massacre, including ousted Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda, six other suspects remain at large.