New arrests could crack case of Mexico's missing students, prosecutor says

Search for missing students ramps up
Search for missing students ramps up

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Search for missing students ramps up 02:23

Story highlights

  • 43 students from a teachers college went missing in Mexico more than a month ago
  • Mexico's attorney general says new arrests bring investigators closer to cracking the case
  • The case has sparked protests across the country and spurred a governor to step down
  • Investigators say a grave site found at a landfill could be connected to the case
Investigators turned up human remains at hidden grave sites and arrested dozens of suspects after 43 students disappeared in Iguala, Mexico.
Protests surged across the country. The state's governor took a leave of absence. The town's former mayor and police chief appear to be on the lam.
But despite the dramatic developments, one haunting constant remains more than a month after the students vanished: They're still missing.
On Monday Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam said authorities were getting closer to determining the whereabouts of the students, who were mostly young men in their 20s studying to become schoolteachers at a rural college.
Federal forces arrested four more people connected with the students' disappearance, he said -- and two of them, both suspected gang members, described dealing with "a large group of people" the night the students went missing.
Ex-mayor linked to missing students
Ex-mayor linked to missing students

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Ex-mayor linked to missing students 02:23
Mexico: Where are 43 abducted students?
Mexico: Where are 43 abducted students?

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    Mexico: Where are 43 abducted students?

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Mexico: Where are 43 abducted students? 02:50
"This brings us much closer to obtaining information ... With this, today we have the first declarations made by those who have confessed and participated on the night of September 26 and in the early morning of the 27th in the disappearance and destination of this large group of people," he told reporters.
So where are they?
At a rally in Mexico's capital Sunday -- the one-month anniversary of the students' disappearance -- one of the country's most well-known writers demanded their return.
Elena Poniatowska read descriptions of each of the 43 students, detailing their nicknames, hobbies and hopes.
"Here we ask in the open air, with our voices raised, 'Return them,'" she told the crowd.
Authorities have issued arrest warrants for former Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca; his wife, Maria de los Ángeles Pineda Villa; and the city's former police chief, Felipe Flores Velásquez. Murillo has said they're the suspected "masterminds" of events that occurred in Iguala on September 26.
At least 57 people have been detained since investigators started searching for the students. But the former mayor and police chief are still at large.
On Sunday lawmakers in Mexico's Guerrero state tapped an interim leader after Gov. Angel Aguirre stepped aside amid protests over how he responded to the case of the missing students.
Rogelio Ortega, an academic who spoke with CNN en Español last week days before his selection as interim governor, said Guerrero was facing daunting problems that would be difficult to fix.
"The problem today is how to successfully face these unleashed demons," he said. "How can we rebuild the social fabric?"