Report: One of the 43 missing students possibly spotted alive in Mexicali

 “MX” for Borderland Beat; Proceso and BB archives

Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño 

Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño, one of the 43 students who went missing on September 2014 near Iguala, Guerrero, could be wandering the streets of Mexicali, Baja California. This information first circulated on social media after people reported seeing a man who matched his physical description.

When this information was known, the parents of the student, as well as members of the State Search Commission, began a search in the area where he was supposedly seen. The man who matches his physical description is believed to be homeless and has not been found by authorities.

Baja California state secretary Amador Rodríguez Lozano confirmed to the family that all the necessary resources will be put in place to find the whereabouts of the person in question “in the hope that good results could be achieved”.

Next September 26 marks the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students. Earlier this year, Borderland Beat reported that one of the remains of a missing student, Christian Alfonso Rodriguez Telumbre, had been identified by forensic experts. He was the third student whose remains were identified since the mass kidnapping. 40 more remain disappeared.

Mass disappearance case

According to Mexican government’s version of the story, referred by the former FGR chief as the Verdad Historica (English: Historical Truth), Guerreros Unidos gang members kidnapped and killed the students in September 2014 after they mistook them for rival gangsters. 

The incident started when the students hijacked several buses in the area before a protest, a tradition that had long been practiced by the school and tolerated by the bus companies. As they traveled back from Iguala to Ayotzinapa, where the school is based, they were intercepted by the police. Some of the surviving students claim that the bus drivers had agreed to give them a lift. The incident quickly devolved into a chaotic night that involved law enforcement and gangsters.

After a long standoff with the police, several students were arrested and reportedly handed over to Guerreros Unidos.

On the left is a picture of the student before he went missing; on the right is the picture shared to investigators of the man who matched his description (source: Government of Baja California)

By dawn the next morning, 6 students were confirmed dead in Iguala, dozens more were wounded. But 43 more had vanished.

The government alleges that the students were killed and their bodies were then disposed in a garbage dump and burned in a large fire. However, several independent investigations have cast doubts on the official report’s findings. Independent investigators said that the investigation was “deeply flawed”, starting by the fact that many of the detainees were confirmed to have been tortured to confess.

In addition, they claimed to have satellite images on the day of the students’ disappearance that showed there had been no fire that night. Critics say that the remains of the first two students identified were found at the rubbish dump in question or planted there by authorities.