“For us, it is significant and has positive elements that will help us to know the truth and obtain justice,” the families said in a statement published Friday.
The fate of the students is an enduring mystery that remains unsolved despite years of scrutiny and international interest.
The students had been visiting the southwestern city of Iguala from a teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa when their buses were intercepted by local police and the federal military forces in September 2014.
Exactly what happened after that — and why — remains unknown. However, survivors from the original group of 100 students said their buses had been stopped and fired on by armed police officers and soldiers. Bullet-riddled buses were later found in the city’s streets, with shattered windows and blood.
Some 43 students subsequently disappeared.
A government report last week referred to the incident as a “state crime”, based on thousands of documents, text messages, phone records, testimonies and other forms of evidence.
He had led the state’s investigation into the disappearances of the students but was criticized by then-President Enrique Peña Nieto for his lack of transparency handling the matter.
The parents of the 43 welcomed his arrest.
“Today, the judge who processes the case agrees with us. Murillo Karam conducted a dubious, irregular investigation, plagued with torture, manipulation, and fabrication of evidence, thus constructing a lie that prevented us from knowing the whereabouts of our children,” the parents’ joint statement said.
“We cannot give up the fight until we have full proof of their whereabouts. It will be painful for our families to learn of their fate, especially if it’s lifeless, but if they give us scientific and definite proof, we will go home to mourn them. To date, we don’t have this evidence. Therefore, our demands and fight continue.”
CNNE’s Fidel Gutierrez contributed to reporting.