News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.

DNA from LA area immigrants could solve painful mysteries from Guatemala's civil war




In Los Angeles, Katia Orantes takes a DNA cheek swab from Guatemalan refugee Javier Alvarez. His father was kidnapped during the civil war when he was ten.
In Los Angeles, Katia Orantes takes a DNA cheek swab from Guatemalan refugee Javier Alvarez. His father was kidnapped during the civil war when he was ten.
Photo: Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
In Los Angeles, Katia Orantes takes a DNA cheek swab from Guatemalan refugee Javier Alvarez. His father was kidnapped during the civil war when he was ten.
A relative of victims of the slaugther of the villa Dos Erres is seen in a hearing at the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala City on January 11, 2013, in which relatives requested that an amnesty application for Guatemalan former de facto president (1982-1983) and retired General, Jose Efrain Rios Montt, who is facing genocide charges for abuses committed during his military dictatorship, be rejected. The case involved the massacre of 201 peasant farmers in the village of Dos Erres during a military operation December 6-8, 1982 in Peten, 600 km north of Guatemala City.
JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images
In Los Angeles, Katia Orantes takes a DNA cheek swab from Guatemalan refugee Javier Alvarez. His father was kidnapped during the civil war when he was ten.
Relatives of victims of the slaugther of the villa Dos Erres hold roses on August 2, 2011 in Guatemala City during the trial of military men involved. Four members of military where sentenced to over 6000 years on prison for the murder of 252 farmers in 1982, the killing was one of bloodiest slaughters during the 1960-96 civil war.
JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images
In Los Angeles, Katia Orantes takes a DNA cheek swab from Guatemalan refugee Javier Alvarez. His father was kidnapped during the civil war when he was ten.
A poster on the wall at the Central American Resource Center near downtown Los Angeles.
Photo: Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC


Listen to story

04:38
Extra Audio:
Download this story 0.0MB

Los Angeles is home to Guatemala's largest ex-pat community. Recently, a forensic group headquartered in Guatemala collected DNA samples from the local community here in the hopes that they can solve painful mysteries about loved ones who either died or went missing during Guatemala's civil war.

KPCC's Leslie Berestein-Rojas has more