Clues from the ashes

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Science  11 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6278, pp. 1141-1143
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6278.1141

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The Mexican government's official story is that the bodies of 43 students who went missing in 2014 were burned at a dump outside the town of Cocula in the state of Guerrero. But José Torero, an internationally known fire investigator at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, in Brisbane, Australia, says the evidence doesn't add up. Burning so many bodies completely would have required a massive amount of energy, he says. Torero is trying to bring more science to the field of fire investigations; many other analysts set out to prove an established theory of a crime, rather than ruling out hypotheses with the help of models and experiments, as Torero does, one his colleagues says.

  • * in Mexico City