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News > Argentina

Argentina: Body Discovered at River to Undergo Autopsy

  • The plane bearing what some suspect is the body of missing activist Santiago Maldonado arrived in Buenos Aires early this morning.

    The plane bearing what some suspect is the body of missing activist Santiago Maldonado arrived in Buenos Aires early this morning. | Photo: Avisa

Published 19 October 2017

Some believe the body is that of missing activist Santiago Maldonado.

A plane bearing a lifeless body found in Argentina's Chubut River has landed in Buenos Aires and is set to undergo an autopsy, Pagina 12 reported.

Family of Missing Activist Santiago Maldonado: We Await Autopsy Results

The body, which some believe is that of missing activist Santiago Maldonado, was met by police, forensics experts and representatives of Maldonado's family before being transferred to the Supreme Court morgue.

Argentina holds its breath as it awaits the autopsy reports, which will begin to answer the thousands of questions that have surrounded the case of the young activist since his Aug. 1 disappearance.

The body was found Tuesday by a team of divers searching the Chubut River, close to where Maldonado was last seen.

“I will not say if it is Santiago or if it's not because I can not identify it," Sergio Maldonado, the brother of the missing activist, said during a press conference in Esquel Tuesday.

Sergio questioned the police report, asking how the body was found upstream in a previously checked area, where a corpse could easily have been found.

The remains were caught in the branches of willow trees on the river, about 1,500 meters from the Indigenous Mapuche community of Pu Lof near Esquel.

A forensic expert working closely with Maldonado’s family, Alejandro Inchaurregui, emphasized that although the body was found in clothes similar to those Maldonado could have been wearing, it still does not imply that it is him.

Reports said the autopsy will be conducted by the Forensic Medical Corps and two members of the Argentine Forensic Anthropological Team.

Body Found on Argentine River Bank Near Location of Maldonado Disappearance

During an interview, Carlos Vullo, team director of the genetic laboratory, said samples will be taken and sent to Cordoba for analysis to determine if they are consistent with those of the Maldonado family.

Vullo went on to say that development of a genetic profile could take three or four days for a soft tissue or anywhere from a week to 15 days if the samples are hard tissues, such as bone or teeth.

Santiago disappeared in early August in Pu Lof after he was arrested during a demonstration in support of Argentina’s Indigenous Mapuche community.

The protest was part of a long-running dispute between Benetton, the Italian clothing retailer that recently purchased vast amounts of land in the area, and Indigenous people who have lived there for centuries.

According to witnesses, the rally was interrupted by national police forces. One participant and community member, Matias Santana, claimed to have seen officers force Maldonado into a vehicle after knocking him unconscious.

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