This case contains graphic content that may not be suitable for all readers.
Alexander Mora Venancio (born circa 1995) was a young man who was one of the 43 students abducted on September 26, 2014, in Iguala, Mexico by local police and cartel members. His remains were located in November 2014 and were identified a month later.
Alexander Mora Venancio grew up in El Pericon, Mexico. According to his father, Ezequiel, his son wanted to be a teacher. Ezequiel further stated on his son's ambition, "Nobody could take that idea from him. We are farmers, and he would help us in the fields, but he wanted to study". Mora-Venancio went to the tuition-free Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa. His responsibilities as a new student included work on planting crops, tending the school animals, and help raise funds for the school's activism by taking over highway booths by soliciting donations and commandeering buses to carry students to events.
Mora-Venancio was one of about a hundred students who commandeered several buses at 6:00 PM in order to travel to Mexico City to commemorate the 1968 Tlateleco massacre. On the way there, they were stopped by Iguala municipal police force at around 9:30 PM reportedly on the orders of the mayor José Luis Abarca Velázquez by using gunfire and roadblocks. A chase between the buses and police ensued in which six people were killed, three of which were civilians in unrelated buses or taxis. After the shootings, 43 students, including Mora-Venancio, were arrested by the police and turned in to the police in Cocula. It is then believed the students were given to Guerreros Unidos, ("United Warriors"), a criminal gang that splintered from the now-defunct Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, and were presumably killed.
In January 2015, former Attorney General Jesus Murrillo Karam said it was the “historic truth” that the bodies of the students, including Mora-Venancio's body, had been incinerated in a huge fire at a garbage dump in Cocula and their ashes were tossed into the San Juan River. However, this version of events has not been accepted by experts and the families of the students. The mother one of the students specifically said in 2014, “How is it possible that in 15 hours they burned so many boys, put them in a bag and threw them into the river? This is impossible. As parents, we don’t believe it’s them.”
Since the mass kidnapping, eighty suspects, forty-four of them police officers, one of them being Iguala's police chief Felipe Flores Velásquez, have been arrested. Iguala Mayor Abarca Velázquez and his wife have been named the masterminds behind the kidnappings by Mexican authorities although neither has been put on trial for it. In June 2020, the leader of the Guerreros Unidos, José Ángel Casarrubias Salgadoalias, alias "El Mochomo" was arrested for and is believed to be responsible for the mass kidnapping and murder of the students. Some have accused the Mexican Federal Police and the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Mexican Army to have been involved, with journalist Anabel Hernandez claiming two of the buses held heroin the students did not know about and the said-battalion's colonel was ordered by a drug lord to intercept the drugs; the students were killed because they were witnesses to the event. This has not been proven yet, however.
The mass kidnapping and the lack of answers to what happened have also drawn international condemnation and protests. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights assembled a panel of experts who conducted a six-month investigation in 2015. They concluded that the government's claims on the matter were "scientifically impossible."
In November 2014, Mora Venancio's charred remains were found in a garbage dump in Cocula, near El Pericon, and 124 miles south of Iguala. The remains were sent to the University of Innsbruck in Austria for DNA analysis where only one bone fragment was identified as that of Mora-Venancio. Since his identification, the remains of Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz and Christian Rodríguez Telumbre were identified.