FBI allowed to join search for Americans missing in Mexico

Other News Materials 6 February 2009 21:13 (UTC +04:00)

Mexican authorities have agreed to allow the FBI to collect DNA from the remains of more than 100 unidentified bodies to see if any are missing Americansm, Xinhua reported.

Prosecutors in the southeastern Mexican border state of Tamaulipas say they have tissue samples from more than 100 bodies buried in unmarked graves in Mexico, the Houston Chronicle reported on Friday.

Once all the samples are collected -- along with DNA from relatives in the U.S. -- the FBI will examine them in Washington for matches in its DNA database, the newspaper said.

So far, the FBI has 75 open cases involving kidnappings of Americans in Mexico. The list of missing Americans in the country is growing longer year by year, according to the newspaper.

"We've got to find a way to resolve this," said John A. Johnson, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's office in the city of McAllen, Texas.

The McAllen FBI office reports 35 Americans have gone missing since 2003.

"If we can't get them back safely, the next best thing is to bring the body home," said Johnson.

Tamaulipas State Attorney General Jaime Rodriguez said helping the FBI is the right thing to do.

"We're doing our best to collaborate with the U.S. authorities - - first, to find the missing and, secondly, to investigate who is responsible and punish those who are," Rodriguez said.