DNA samples taken from Argentine police vehicles believed to belong to missing activist Santiago Maldonado have tested negative, complicating claims the police were responsible for his disappearance.
A test of 80 DNA samples including sweat and hair were found not to match Maldonado or to be inconclusive.
Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said the result has cleared the government of accusations it was responsible for the disappearance of Maldonado.
Judge Guido Otranto has discounted the argument the vehicles could have been cleaned to destroy evidence of wrongdoing.
Human rights organizations accuse the national police of forcibly removing Maldonado on Aug. 1, during a military police raid on an Indigenous Mapuche community. Witnesses said they saw officers shove the 28-year-old into a van and drive away.
The government and the national police have denied involvement in the disappearance.
The case has shone a spotlight on human rights abuses under the government of President Mauricio Macri.
Social movements including the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo have said Maldonado was a victim of “institutional state violence.”
After increased pressure from Mapuche activists, human rights groups and the United Nations, the government announced a reward of US$28,000 for information about Maldonado’s whereabouts.