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Flight MH17 bodies disappear: Remains of 38 passengers vanish from debris field

This is how a conspiracy theory gains credence: In the wake of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over the Ukraine-Russia border, with authorities not being able to properly investigate the crash site and reports that 38 of the still numerous unaccounted for sets of remains of the plane's passengers and crew being quickly spirited away from the site, accusations that the pro-Russian rebels that control the area and access to the ten-square-mile debris field are tampering with and destroying evidence are flying. Although the separatists claim there is no cover-up and that they are attempting to hide nothing from investigators, their forces have severely limited access and any in-depth processing of the crash site and the reported 298 bodies of the passengers and crew of Flight MH17.

The Wire reported (via Yahoo News) July 20 that even though it has been more than three days since the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot out of the sky, sending hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pieces of wreckage falling to the Earth below, officials in charge of securing and investigating the site have yet to be allowed to do so. However, while the rebel forces are allowing limited access to the debris field and the bodies of the dead, a few disturbing aspects of the separatist operation have been observed, including the likelihood that among the rebel forces are experts in crash site analysis.

Rebel forces would not openly admit to transporting 38 bodies out of the impact area in the first 24 hours, according to the KyivPost.com. Yet, as The Wire pointed out, where those bodies are at present and why they were selected and removed so quickly from the scene, is unknown.

It is generally believed that the 38 bodies were taken in an effort for Ukraine rebels to hide Russian involvement in the shooting down of the passenger jet itself. The separatists themselves, as well as the Russian government, blame Ukraine for shooting down the passenger airliner. Rebels contend that Flight MH17 was the victim of Ukraine's anti-terrorism program.

At the same time, the government in Kiev, which is requesting complete access to the Malaysia Airlines crash site, has called upon Russia to put pressure on the separatists, noting that the Ukrainian rebels looked to Moscow for guidance.

The United States, with both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry pointing fingers at Russia, is now convinced that pro-Russian Ukraine separatists were responsible for firing a surface-to-air missile, one supplied by Russia within the last month, that ultimately brought down the jet and the 298 people on board. There have been calls for a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine in the troubled region and demands that Russia take responsibility for the incident.

Still, it is troubling to investigators that they are denied entry to the crash site. Valuable evidence, especially biological evidence with regard to the human remains, is being lost the longer the wreckage and the remains are exposed to the elements. Temperatures around Donetsk, a city near where the airplane wreckage lays strewn across the countryside, centered around 85 degrees. Filled body bags, not to mention fully exposed remains, have been observed and photographed lying alongside roadways, baking in the heat.

In addition to the disappearance of the 38 bodies and the lack of preservation of the crash site and all the evidence, it has been reported that rebels are performing their own autopsies. Some bodies were reportedly taken away from government rescue workers at gunpoint. There are also reports of looting of the bodies. And there are also reports that those rebel soldiers left in charge of guarding the extensive site a drunk and mishandling the bodies.

There have been reports of separatists burning things, giving rise to the idea that they're still destroying evidence.

The Ukrainian government set up a receiving station in Kharkiv, which is controlled by government forces, but they have yet to receive any remains.

Officials have been able to independently confirm an additional 186 bodies at the site besides the 38 missing sets of remains. As yet, the other 74 sets of remains are unaccounted for.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Europe's leading security agency, has been negotiating with separatists in the hope that Ukrainian and international investigators can soon get access to the crash site. According to Reuters, rescue workers have been relegated to basically watching while rebels and those working with them pull bodies and body parts from the wreckage-strewn area, helpless to do anything unless occasionally being permitted limited access, while being heavily guarded, to certain parts of the crash site.