The Federal Argentine judge Gustavo Lleral, who has been handling the investigation on death of Santiago Maldonado for the past year, has decided to close case, discarding the idea that his disappearance was involuntary and saying with certainty that it had been a "number of factors" that ended the young man's life.
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"The desperation, the adrenaline, the agitation naturally provoked by being on the run; the depth of the well, the thicket and the interwoven roots down below; the cold, freezing water soaking his clothes and underwear down to his skin. Those are the extenuating factors that contributed to his sinking and made it impossible for him to float, to the point where he couldn't emerge from the water to take a mouthful of oxygen. Because of this simple and natural confluence of events, inevitable in those exact and fateful solitary moments, his vital functions became paralyzed," said the judge in part of his ruling.
This decision was made possible by the expertise brought into the case by the National Institute of Industrial Technology analyzing the documents found on the Maldonado's body.
Maldonado's body appeared to be in good state, which put into question the idea that the young man had been under the water for three months.
Regardless, the investigation by INTI showed that the level of deterioration of his ID was compatible with this situation.
Maldonado's family through a spokesperson indicated that they were not notifiied about this analysis.
"These circumstances just confirms that news reports have influence on judicial decisions, making this a judicial and media attack with the goal of intimidating the family, disinforming, and is evidence that the State needs to close this case to guarantee the impunity of those responsible for the forced disappearance and death of Santiago."