Investigators: Classmate of missing Mexican students was tortured

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Story highlights

  • Julio César Mondragón Fontes was found dead the morning after 43 students disappeared
  • He had 64 fractures in 40 bones

(CNN)Authorities in Mexico say that a classmate of 43 college students who disappeared died after being tortured.

Julio César Mondragón Fontes, a student at a teachers' college in the small town of Ayotzinapa, went with a group of about 100 of his fellow pupils to the city of Iguala to raise money on September 26, 2014. It's still not clear exactly what happened -- Mexican authorities initially said the students were attacked and abducted by corrupt police officers, then possibly handed over to a dangerous criminal gang -- but 43 students disappeared. Reports that their bodies were burned in a nearby landfill have since been debunked; their whereabouts remain unknown nearly two years later.
    The case sparked an international outcry, putting the country's endemic corruption and failing battle against violent crime in the global spotlight.
    According to the report published Monday by Mexico's National Human Rights Commission -- a federally funded but impartial investigative agency -- Mondragón's body was found the next day, mutilated. He is not included in the tally of missing students.
    In total, there were 64 fractures in 40 bones all over his body, the report said. Of the 14 bones in his face, 13 were fractured. His body showed signs that he tried to defend himself.
    "Julio César Mondragón Fontes was the victim of physical torture," said Jose Trinidad Larrieta, the special commissioner in Ayotzinapa at the National Human Rights Commission. "He was cruelly beaten by members of an organized gang and public servants of the Iguala municipality."
    The commission is calling on federal authorities to investigate 11 people who may be connected to Mondragón's killing.
    To date, no one has been charged in relation to the case.
    Mondragón left behind a wife and infant daughter.

    A stalled case

    Argentine forensic experts investigating the case said in February that there is no evidence to support the government's hypothesis that the bodies of the 43 students were burned in a nearby landfill.
    Jesús Murillo Karam, who was the attorney general when the students disappeared, said in November 2014 that the young men were abducted on orders of a local mayor, turned over to a gang that killed them, burned their bodies in a landfill and tossed the remains into a nearby river.
    Of the missing 43, authorities have only been able to identify the remains of one: Alexander Mora Venancio.