Residents of a community in Guerrero have advised the parents of the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala last fall of the recent discovery of human remains in a shallow grave.
The remains, including two jawbones, part of a vertebra and a skull, were found buried a meter deep near the highway linking the villages of Amatitlán and Tenantla in the municipality of Eduardo Neri.
The people who discovered the grave asked that their names be withheld for fear of provoking reprisals from the Guerreros Unidos criminal gang that operates in the area.
One said that on the night of September 27 last year about 30 armed members of the gang arrived in the village in luxury pickup trucks, and shortly after an excavator was seen working.
The discovery of the remains was made shortly after the detention by Federal Police in Carrizalillo last week of Modesto Onofre Peña Celso, who is suspected of having links with the gang. During questioning Peña Celso reportedly told police that there were unmarked graves in the hills in the area.
He also said that he believed the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teacher’s college were taken to Carrizalillo and could probably be found in the graves.
Residents of the community are said to have been living in fear of the Peña Celso family, which has been linked to the Guerreros Unidos gang.
The Public Prosecutor’s office said it would excavate the graves once an expert who can run tests on the bones arrives, which it expects will happen by Saturday.
One Carrizalillo resident, who would only be identified as “Jacinto,” said he believed there were many graves in the area and claimed to know of one that contained 30 bodies.
Jacinto added that he believed it possible that between 60% and 80% of the missing Ayotzinapa students – who are presumed dead – were buried in the area.
The latest grave to be uncovered is by no means unique to the area. It is a well-known fact among residents that the surrounding hills are used by the Guerreros Unidos to bury the remains of victims kidnapped in Mezcala, Taxco and Iguala.