Just before the premier of the film “Santiago’s Path” directed by Tristan Bauer, the expert criminologist Enrique Prueger carried out a series of tests, not requested by the Maldonado family, from which new hypotheses emerge regarding how Santiago Maldonado died.
The expert categorically affirms that the body could not have been submerged during 78 days in the Rio Chubut’s waters and be in the state in which it was found. Consequently it had to have been “planted” after his disappearance. According to Prueger, Santiago Maldonado could have been placed there a few hours before or at most ten days before he was found.
Lic. Enrique Prueger is the Director of the Institute that bears his name, which functions in the province of Neuquen where criminology is taught, and where he teaches. At present he is also working on the criminalist investigation of Rafael Nahuel’s murder. With many years of experience, he became known for the identification of the place where the murdered soldier Omar Carrasco had been hidden in 1994. After those responsible were tried and convicted, the event culminated in the elimination of mandatory military service in Argentina.
After Santiago´s body was removed from the river, his brother Sergio stated that he had more doubts tan certainties. After the autopsy was performed, and with a document signed by 28 court-appointed expert professionals, they concluded that he had died of hypothermia and drowning. They affirmed that the body had always been in the river.
The family’s lawyer, Veronica Heredia, had requested that the Judicial system carry out a new investigation of what had happened, since she considered there were gray areas in the explanations of how the young man had died. This petition even reached the Supreme Court, but was refused at both the first and second level of appeal.
Referring to the new hypothesis the lawyer declared: “He carried out the research on his own account, but the conclusions coincide with our doubts regarding the autopsy: the conditions and the location where Santiago’s body was found, a part of the river that at that time was 30 centimeters (12 inches) deep. They had scoured the area so many times in their searches; why on October 17 they discover the body and don’t explain why they hadn’t found it before, and what produced such unleashed violence by the Gendarmes/military police on August 1st?
The Criminalist Institute bases its theory on scientific tests carried out with animal meat that was submerged in water for 30 days. These showed that the mass of meat was 50% consumed in that time lapse. Moreover in Santiago’s case – who in theory was in the water more than twice that time – fish and other organisms would have been there feeding on the body, which showed very little evidence of deterioration. The same was true of his clothes.
Prueger declared: “The body was frozen, which isn’t possible, or he had to have been alive somewhere for 48 days. Santiago was captured, hidden, and later drowned and placed in that location. I’m from the area: if there was cryo-preservation, it was in a refrigerator, because the river doesn’t reach those temperatures.”
Moreover the results of analyses carried out by Lic. Leticia Povilauskas, with degrees in Geology and Palynology, were also presented. According to the autopsy’s report published last November, traces of pollen from a Patagonian conifer were found. She affirms that the particles that were adhered to Santiago’s clothes could not have remained if they had been submerged for so long in the river; the currents would have washed them away.
The Maldonado family, as well as so many others, after having insisted constantly with the question “Where is Santiago Maldonado?” that was finally answered last October 17, now needs to know “What happened to Santiago Maldonado?”