Search posters for the 43 missing students. Chilpancingo, Guerrero. March 5, 2015.

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UNTIL WE FIND YOU


At the end of 2016, the number of people who are reported missing in Mexico reached 30,000. This crisis of disappearances, which are mainly perpetrated by drug cartels or corrupt security forces, has left tens of thousands of families consumed and tormented by uncertainty. The disappeared person has often been murdered, but their loved ones have no body, no answers, no justice, and no closure.


This series follows one case: 43 college students who disappeared following a deadly attack by police in 2014. Their families became the heart of a mass protest movement as hundreds of thousands of people carried their faces in marches and demanded they be returned alive. The fate of the students, who attended a school known for its activism and built for the rural poor after the Mexican Revolution, became a symbol for social disintegration and for decades of state crimes that live on in collective memory.


The mothers and fathers, uncles and sisters, nephews and classmates united by these events have been living, organizing, and grieving together for almost three years. The Mexican government’s account of the crime has been denounced by international investigators as a fabrication, and the families have traveled across Mexico and the world to organize resistance and fight for the truth. 


In the words of Erica, the wife of missing student Adan Abraján, “If the Ayotzinapa case is closed, all struggles are in danger.” They continue to search for their loved ones alive.

Survivors of the attacks in the auditorium of the Ayotzinapa Teachers College. Their 43 missing classmates are mostly 18 year old freshmen. Tixtla, Guerrero. March 16, 2015.

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Citizen search organized by families of the missing students in the hills outside Iguala, the city where they disappeared. Huahuaxtla, Guerrero. January 16, 2016.

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Site of the attacks. Crosses on the ground mark where two Ayotzinapa students were shot and killed. Parents of the 43 missing students have posted phone numbers to call “if you know anything about our sons.” Iguala, Guerrero. February 13, 2015.

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Romana, mother of 33-year-old missing student José Ángel Campos Cantor. Tixtla, Guerrero. March 2, 2015.

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The family of missing student Julio César López Patolzin celebrates his 25th birthday. His aunt and niece hold each other as a group of musicians plays his favorite songs. Tixtla, Guerrero. January 29, 2015.

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Rally marking five months since the disappearance. Mexico City. February 26, 2015.

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Epifanio and Blanca, parents of missing student Jorge Álvarez Nava, rest on the bus during a week of organizing in Mexico City. Three days later, the Attorney General controversially closed the Ayotzinapa case. January 24, 2015.

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Search posters for the missing students on the walls of a bank. San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. November 10, 2014.

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Joint forum with members of the Ayotzinapa 43 movement and the Black Lives Matter movement at St. Mark's Church. Queens, New York. April 25, 2015.

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Oscar, brother of missing student Abel García Hernández, and Mayra, aunt of missing student Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre, march together five months after the disappearance. Mexico City. February 26, 2015.

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Students comfort mothers of the 43 missing students at a rally at Metropolitan Autonomous University. Mexico City. January 23, 2015.

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Banner of the missing 43 at the entrance to the Fortín neighborhood in Tixtla, the town where the Ayotzinapa Teachers College is located. It reads, “Tixtla and El Fortín support the families of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students. They took them alive, we want them back alive!” Tixtla, Guerrero. February 6, 2015.

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A relative holds Gaby, the baby daughter of missing student José Ángel Campos Cantor. A portrait of him hangs on the wall behind her. His other daughter, America, is eight years old. Tixtla, Guerrero. March 18, 2015.

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Mural of Lucio Cabañas at the Ayotzinapa Teachers College, where the 43 missing students were studying. Cabañas was a student leader at the school during the 1960s and went on to form a guerrilla group called the Party of the Poor. He died in a shootout with the army in 1974. Tixtla, Guerrero. February 11, 2015.

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Police intercept relatives and classmates of the 43 missing students, who were calling for a boycott of the state elections, en route to a protest. Tixtla, Guerrero. June 3, 2015.

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Confrontation between Ayotzinapa students and riot police after a failed negotiation. Tixtla, Guerrero. June 3, 2015.

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Funeral of Antonio Vivar Díaz, a student teacher and local leader in the movement for the 43 missing students. Vivar Díaz was shot by a policeman in Tlapa during a confrontation on state election day. Tlapa, Guerrero. June 9, 2015.

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"He fought for you," the family of activist Antonio Vivar Diaz greeted a delegation from Ayotzinapa at his wake. Tlapa, Guerrero. June 8, 2015.

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Bernabé, father of missing student Adan Abrajan de La Cruz, at a meeting with the State Attorney General about missing surveillance footage from the night of the disappearance. March 9, 2016.

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Neighborhood rooftop. Tixtla, Guerrero. February 1, 2015.

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