Chilean authorities on Friday announced that 89 boxes of bones kept at a medical school for nearly 20 years are likely the remains of people who were detained and “disappeared” decades ago for opposing the country’s dictatorship.
According to an association that represents the family members of people who were detained and disappeared during the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990, the boxes had sat, unexamined, at the University of Chile’s medical school from 2001 to 2019.
Chile’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights confirmed the finding Friday, CNN en Español reported.
The network reported that the bones were transferred from the medical school in Santiago to the Medical Legal Service, a public agency, in 2019.
The Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared called the discovery a “very serious situation” that must be investigated.
Over 3,000 people were killed or went missing during Pinochet’s rule. Many of those were political opponents and dissidents who were “disappeared” by the ruling military and never seen again.
Tens of thousands of prisoners were also tortured during the regime, which ended in 1990 after a national referendum showed that most Chileans did not want Pinochet to remain in power.