In 2014, students from a rural college in Mexico came under attack by police. Six people were killed and 43 young men disappeared without a trace. Families suspected the government was hiding the truth. Now, Reveal is exposing corruption at the highest levels, and an unsettling connection to America’s war on drugs.
The Missing 43
Through never-before-broadcast voices of survivors, we piece together the attack on the students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College, and learn why families of the missing men have doubts about the government’s official story.
Thousands of miles away from where the attack took place, an American DEA agent thinks he knows why the students were targeted. And in Mexico, international experts dismantle the government’s explanation of what happened to the young men.
Mexico’s investigation into the missing students is reopened, and a new prosecutor exposes a large-scale cover-up by the previous administration. A mother prays that she will one day know the truth about what happened to her son.
Arrests and Intrigue
Eight months after our series aired, the government’s investigation is in high gear. But parents of the missing still don’t have the answers they want. There have been arrests and indictments of high-profile members of the military, and even the country’s former attorney general. But no one has been convicted, and the remains of only a handful of students have been identified.
Explore the documents
Read about our partner in the investigation, the National Security Archive, and its work to uncover documents on the Ayotzinapa case.
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Original music for the podcast is by Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda. Listen to the soundtrack on Bandcamp.
Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition
2022-23 finalist, best serialized story
Investigative Reporters & Editors
2022 winner, longform journalism in audio
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After Ayotzinapa is a presentation of Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX with the National Security Archive.
Anayansi Diaz-Cortes is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal. Her work has been featured everywhere from All Things Considered to Radio Ambulante and This American Life. She is a recipient of the Overseas Press Club Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, and the Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation award. Previously, she produced for Radio Diaries and has done extensive reporting in both the U.S. and Mexico.
Kate Doyle is a senior analyst of U.S. policy in Latin America at the National Security Archive. She directs several major research projects, including the Mexico Project, which collects U.S. and Mexican government documents on the countries’ shared histories. Since 1992, Doyle has worked with Latin American human rights groups, truth commissions, prosecutors and judges to obtain government files from secret archives that shed light on state violence.
Taki Telonidis is the senior supervising editor for Reveal. He has edited several signature projects for the show including investigations into workplace safety at Amazon, the prevalence of guns among domestic abusers, and the murder of two journalists in Istanbul, Turkey. His work has garnered George Foster Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and Third Coast awards.
Kevin Sullivan is Reveal’s executive producer. In 2018, he launched an initiative to develop serial projects at Reveal, which resulted in 2020’s award-winning American Rehab and now Mississippi Goddam. Under his leadership, Reveal has grown to air on more than 570 radio stations and has garnered top journalism honors, including multiple Peabody, duPont, Edward R. Murrow and Third Coast awards.
Sound designer, engineer and composer
Jim Briggs III makes intimate soundscapes for Reveal, and has been with the show since its public radio debut in 2013. He has guided Reveal to numerous accolades and a signature sound including original scoring and data sonification. Other mix credits include “99% Invisible,” “Marketplace,” “Radiolab” and several PBS television documentaries. A winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in sound, Briggs records ambient and psychedelic music under the name Decoded Forests.
Sound designer, engineer and composer
Fernando Arruda has been mixing and making original soundtracks for Reveal since 2018. From Brazil, he has held four O-1 visas for individuals with extraordinary abilities. His work has been recognized by the Peabody, duPont, Edward R. Murrow, Gerald Loeb, Third Coast and Association of Music Producers awards, as well as Emmy and Pulitzer nominations. Fernando plays saxophone at SFJAZZ’s MNBig Band and likes to swim whenever possible.
Amy Mostafa is Reveal’s production manager for the weekly broadcast show, podcast and serials. Mostafa helped launch our recent serial, Mississippi Goddam, across newsroom platforms and has worked on Reveal’s award winning first serial American Rehab. Mostafa’s audio reporting and production work has appeared nationally and across NPR affiliates KQED, KALW and AKPM. Most recently, she has reported on health equity with a focus on aging and housing.
Host: Al Letson
Executive editor: Andy Donohue
Reporting and producing help: Bruce Gil, Megan DeTura and David Rodriguez
Engagement reporter: David Rodriguez
Digital producer: Sarah Mirk
Audience strategist: Kassie Navarro
Episode art: Dante Aguilera
Fact checker: Ariana Rosas
Additional mixing and sound design: Claire Mullen, Kathryn Styer Martinez and Steven Rascón
Guest vocalist: Thu Ho
Voiceover actors: Nicolás Galán, Nadia Hamdan, David Rodriguez and Benjamin G. Bazán
CEO: Kaizar Campwala
Editor in chief: Sumi Aggarwal
Special thanks: Tom Blanton and Claire Dorfman from the National Security Archive; Santiago Aguirre and María Luisa Aguilar from Centro Prodh; Maureen Meyer from the Washington Office on Latin America; John Gibler, Laura Starecheski, Lisa Pollak and Monica Campbell.