Families of 43 missing Mexican students travel to Fresno

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The survivors of the Iguala attack and parents of students they say are still missing made their voices heard in the Valley. (KFSN)

An attack on students so brutal it made international headlines. The survivors of the Iguala attack and parents of students they say are still missing made their voices heard in the Valley.

The group of people who call themselves "Caravana 43" were in Fresno on Saturday as part of a 17-city tour. Members of "Caravana 43" and supporters of the cause held a vigil for the students they say are still missing somewhere in Mexico. One survivor said it's his hope demonstrations like this will bring support for those grieving.

A passionate cry for justice led by mourning parents and surviving witnesses of a horrific 2014 attack. On the 26th of September, a group of students from a rural teachers college of Ayotzinapa were traveling to Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. Angel Neri De La Cruz is one of the few survivors and says police closed in and opened fire on the unarmed students.

"He said he feels lucky to be here and privileged because he's getting the platform to speak to not only students but the community because they're trying to tell their story because Mexico is trying to tell their own version of the whole story," a translator said.

The events that unfolded during that bus ride would make international headlines and result in nearly 100 arrests. Six people were shot dead, dozens injured and 43 students were corralled and taken by the gunmen.

De La Cruz told Action News and a crowd of students at Fresno State he felt bullets whiz by his head during the attack while others around him were killed.

"Aldo Gutierrez, one of the classmates that was shot in the head, when that happened he actually felt the fear in not only him but his classmates as well," the translator said.

A poster is seen with pictures of the 43 missing students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers' College of Ayotzinapa , who disappeared in Iguala, in Guerrero state, Mexico.

Once the 43 students were abducted, members of a local crime group - Guerreros Unidos - told investigators they were ordered to burn the bodies and dump them in a river. A mass grave of burned bodies was later found, but De La Cruz says there has been no evidence the bodies belong to the students. He believes they could be out there, still alive.

"For him it was a great loss because he lost a lot of his classmates to start with. And then his families and the parents feel like they have a void to fill because they don't know where their students are at," the translator said.

The official investigation later found that Iguala's mayor and his wife were behind the abduction. The two along with nearly 100 others have been arrested for the atrocities.

But De La Cruz says the goal of Saturday's conference and visits to other cities in the United States is to bring awareness to the corruption and lies he believes the Mexican government is telling its citizens. He believes there is still more they don't know and hopes this tour brings light to the truth.

Related Topics:
missing personmexicokidnapkidnappingabductionvigilfresnou.s. & worldFresno - NortheastFresno - NorthwestFresno State
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