Three men detained in the case of 43 missing students from southwestern Mexico have confessed to killing at least some of the students, authorities said Friday.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said during a press conference that “the investigation indicates that a large number of people were murdered in Cocula,” a city 13 miles southwest of Iguala where the students were last seent. He added that the victims are probably the missing students.

The prosecutor showed excerpts of a video recording in which members of the Guerreros Unidos, or “United Warriors,” drug cartel confessed to killing more than 40 students who were given to them.

‘’The police brought us the youth at Cocula garbage dump,” said gang member Agustin Garcia. “Some of them were already dead. We killed everyone.”

The men said that all of the students were burned with fuel, wood and plastic along the River San Juan in Cocula. “The fire lasted 14 hours” Karam said.

The detainees also told the attorney general that the remains of the students were placed in plastic bags and then thrown into the river.  

“I know the enormous pain for the relatives of the students that this information produces. We are sharing in you pain,” Karam said while adding that the students will sill be considered missing until DNA test can confirms their identities.

Following the press conference, relatives of the students quickened to tell the media that they reject everything that the authorities had to say.

“For us, it’s just another government lie. We cannot accept these explanations and the government must stop torturing the parents. We want our kids alive,” said Felipe de la Cruz, a father of one of the missing students.

The parents said that they will trust the conclusions made only by Argentinian forensics experts who are also investigating the case.  

The students from a rural teachers college in Ayotzinapa disappeared Sept. 26, in the city of Iguala, in Guerrero state.

Authorities contend that Iguala’s mayor gave local police orders to intercept the students who were demonstrating at a political rally. The officers opened fire that resulted in six deaths and the 43 missing students. 

The case has drawn international attention and revealed deep connections between state and local government officials and organized crime.

Seventy-four police and organized crime members have been detained so far in the investigation, including the former mayor of Iguala and his wife, who are suspected of orchestrating the dissapearance.

Anadolu Agency