A forensics lab in Guatemala puts together the pieces of the past

Americas Now

Anthropologists in Guatemala are using forensics to try and determine what happened during the country’s 36-year Civil War. Families have been looking for loved ones “disappeared” from the war for decades.

Guatemala is one of the Central American countries that suffered the most during the Cold War – a time of post–World War II tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. A civil conflict in Guatemala from 1960 to 1996 left hundreds of thousands dead and tens of thousands missing.

More than two decades after the end of the conflict, forensic anthropologists are helping families who have been searching for their disappeared loved ones. The forensics laboratory has recovered the remains of close to 15,000 people. But that’s only a fraction of the number of those believed to have died during Guatemala’s Civil War.

Harris Whitbeck visits the anthropologists who are unearthing answers in Guatemala City.