Investigators at the Cocula dump, where the students' bodies were believed to have been burned. Investigators at the Cocula dump, where the students' bodies were believed to have been burned.

Forensic team finds fault with probe

Attorney General says the Argentines' statements more speculation than certainty

The team of Argentine forensic experts who have been working on the case of the missing Ayotzinapa students shot holes Saturday in the Attorney General’s version of what transpired in Cocula, Guerrero, on September 26 and 27.

Meeting with parents of the 43 missing students, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team claimed errors and irregularities on the part of the Attorney General and said it was still impossible to say conclusively what took place.

While the evidence neither refutes nor rules out the official findings, they said, it doesn’t confirm that the remains found are not those of other victims of another fire during the last four years. They pointed out that other remains were also discovered in the Cocula garbage dump, where the students’ bodies are believed to have been burned.

The Argentine team recommended further analysis.

It also cited as an irregularity that its members were not present when remains were examined after being found in the San Juan River, and that errors had been made by Attorney General staff in obtaining the genetic profiles of 16 of the students’ families in preparation for sending them for analysis to a laboratory in Austria.

The team objected as well that it had not been included in the chain of custody to document the collection of evidence when remains were found in the river.

Today the Attorney General fired back a response. It said in a statement the team had been included in the investigation for the benefit of the students’ families in spite of their knowledge being limited to the fields of anthropology, criminology and genetics.

It said their expertise wasn’t sufficiently specialized to raise questions about the investigation, and suggested what they were saying appeared to be “more speculation than certainty.”

The statement refuted the objection by the experts that they had been unable to corroborate the findings concerning the lone student who has been identified because they had not been present at the San Juan River when those remains were found. The Attorney General said the Argentines would have been present had they not chosen to go to the Cocula garbage dump instead.

It also said there was one transcription error found in the genetic profiles and that it was fixed within 24 hours.

The Attorney General observed that the visiting forensic team was “not an authority” and signing off on the chain of custody was not part of its function.

The spokesman for the parents of the missing students, who have not accepted the Attorney General’s explanation, said the Argentine team’s declaration makes it clear that the official version “has fallen apart.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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