The Argentine federal judge in charge of the investigation into the disappearance of missing activist Santiago Maldonado says he may have drowned in the Chubut river during a protest by the Mapuche community.
In an interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nacion, Guido Otranto said it is the "most reasonable" possibility.
"Maldonado drowned in the river, according to the analysis of evidence that I am carrying out. I do not find this interpretation that he was captured by the Gendarmerie (military police) to be convincing," said Otranto.
"I do not see any reason to believe, or claim, that he could have been seriously wounded by a close range shot or a stone thrown by one or more gendarmes," he added.
Maldonado disappeared on August 1 during a protest led by the Indigenous Mapuche people in Cushamen, where they demanded that the government return land handed over to a the Italian clothing company Benetton.
Matias Santana, a member of the community, also claimed police detained Maldonado during the protest. Santana added that he was able to identify the activist because he was wearing a jacket that he lent him prior to the protest.
The Maldonado family has supported the claim.
Despite centuries of resistance, the Mapuche people are still struggling to maintain their lands and have their ancestral rights recognized by the government.
Argentina's former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is calling for her successor to speak out.
Speaking at the launch of her election campaign, Fernandez again criticised the way Mauricio Macri's government has been handling the young man's disappearance and said that "we want to hear the President's voice in a case that touches society."
Fernandez is standing as a candidate for the Citizen's Unity coalition in October's Senate polls.
She also said, "There is a precarious democracy here" and went on to compare the suppression of demonstrations against Macri's controversial reforms with "what happened in the 70's," referring to the country's military dictatorship.