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HomeWorld NewsPhysique of María Belén Bernal discovered after disappearance surprised Ecuador

Physique of María Belén Bernal discovered after disappearance surprised Ecuador


Within the early morning of Sept. 11, a 34-year-old protection legal professional walked into the police academy in Ecuador’s capital to satisfy her husband, a lieutenant who educated aspiring officers. She carried a burger she had picked up for him at a restaurant on the best way.

It was the final time María Belén Bernal was seen alive.

On Wednesday, investigators trying to find Bernal discovered human stays on the slope of an extinct volcano close to the academy. President Guillermo Lasso confirmed that they have been hers.

“With deep ache and indignation I remorse to report that María Belén was discovered,” Lasso tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “Her femicide won’t go unpunished and all these accountable can be dropped at justice.”

Bernal’s husband, police Lt. Germán Cáceres, was questioned by authorities final week, launched after which disappeared himself. A choose has ordered him to court docket Friday for a “formulation of costs.” Interpol has issued an alert in search of his whereabouts.

The invention of the stays Wednesday morning on the Casitagua Volcano, 20 minutes from the police academy, was a stunning flip in a case that has gripped the South American nation, dominating native information protection, prompting protests in a number of cities and fueling anger towards rising violence towards girls.

Activists say the truth that Bernal disappeared from a police academy, and that the precept suspect is an officer liable for coaching cadets, is especially worrisome throughout what they describe because the deadliest 12 months for girls in Ecuador on report. A minimum of 206 girls have been killed since January for causes related to their gender, in response to the Latin American Affiliation for Various Improvement, up from 197 for all of 2021.

Mishell Medina, a spokeswoman for the Committee Towards Violence, Disappearances and Femicides in Ecuador, stated the outrage over Bernal’s case captures a rising frustration with a police drive seen by many as corrupt and complicit in rising crime.

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“They now not signify an order to guard, however moderately an order to make individuals disappear,” Medina stated. “They’re policemen who rent hit males, policemen who rob, policemen who’re concerned in drug trafficking.”

Bernal is believed to have entered the police academy at about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 11, a Sunday. It was unclear why she was allowed to enter the academy as a civilian and at that hour.

A cadet would report listening to what seemed like a girl’s screams coming from Cáceres’s room, in response to the cadet’s lawyer. An academy official would inform authorities he noticed what seemed to be a crimson liquid on her husband’s arms, in response to Gonzalo Realpe, the lawyer for cadet Joselyn Sánchez, and Jesús López Cedeño, a lawyer for Bernal’s household. Each attorneys stated that they had reviewed the case file.

Nobody stopped Cáceres from leaving or reentering the academy on the outskirts of Quito later that day.

“The accountability lies with the state,” Bernal’s mom, Elizabeth Otavalo, 54, advised The Washington Put up this week, earlier than her stays have been discovered.

Edison Burbano, a lawyer representing Cáceres, cautioned that “till now, there are solely a sequence of presumptions concerning the lieutenant.”

“It’s constructive that they’ve discovered the physique as a result of it mitigates the ache of the household,” he stated. “If Mr. Cáceres has any accountability, that have to be outlined in response to the regulation.”

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Cáceres turned in his cellphone to prosecutors throughout his questioning final week, Burbano stated. He was held for eight hours. “Since then, I’ve no data of his whereabouts,” the lawyer stated. “We’ve got not spoken.”

López Cedeño, the lawyer for Bernal’s household, stated investigators searched Cáceres’s room and located crimson stains. They’re awaiting DNA take a look at outcomes.

On Friday, prosecutors detained cadet Joselyn Sánchez.

Realpo, her legal professional, stated Cáceres and Sánchez have been at a celebration collectively and “had just a few drinks.” He acknowledged they exchanged messages which have since been deleted, however stated they associated to “their infatuation, their crush. Nothing to do with the crime of femicide.”

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“It seems that my consumer was with the lieutenant when his spouse arrived,” Realpo stated. “He hides her in one other bed room to keep away from issues and locks himself together with his spouse in his room.”

“My consumer heard the screaming and banging from being within the subsequent room. However there have been many others who heard the identical factor.”

On Monday, Fausto Salinas, commander basic of Ecuador’s police, stated 12 members of the drive had been suspended pending an investigation.

Inside Minister Patricio Carrillo stated the case has introduced “disgrace” to the nation’s uniformed officers. He has changed the police academy director with a girl, Col. Irany Ramírez.

Lasso has supplied a $20,000 reward for data that helps find Cáceres. He talked about the case Wednesday earlier than the U.N. Normal Meeting in New York.

“I need to reap the benefits of this discussion board to work collectively additionally to struggle towards gender violence,” he stated. “Within the case of Ecuador, the disappearance of a brave girl, a lawyer, mom and daughter, ought to be a logo of this problem within the struggle towards violence towards girls.”

Otavalo, Bernal’s mom, stated she by no means had motive to be involved about her daughter’s relationship along with her husband. Bernal and Cáceres started residing collectively six years in the past and married about 4 years in the past. Bernal has a 12-year-old son from a earlier relationship. The boy created a Twitter account final week and posted a photograph of Cáceres.

“Good evening everybody, assist me discover my mother,” the boy tweeted, “the final one that was along with her was my stepfather German Cáceres.” As of Wednesday, it had been retweeted greater than 12,900 instances.

At about 2 p.m. Sept. 12, Bernal’s mom stated, she acquired a name from Cáceres asking if she had seen her daughter. He stated she had caught a taxi the evening earlier than beside a significant freeway in Quito.

“I requested him, ‘Did you’re taking pictures of the taxi?’ and he stated no,” Otavalo stated. “It’s a quick freeway the place taxis don’t cross by.”

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Otavalo stated she urged Cáceres to report her disappearance.

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Burbano, Cáceres’s lawyer, stated Cáceres visited his workplace on the morning of Sept. 13 and advised him his spouse was lacking. In response to Burbano, Cáceres advised prosecutors he was together with his spouse, they fought, they left the police academy in her automotive and continued combating.

To stop the struggle from escalating, Burbano stated Cáceres advised prosecutors, Cáceres stopped the automotive. Bernal determined to get out on a freeway and take a taxi, Cáceres stated. The lieutenant stated he had not seen her once more.

Burbano stated he insisted that Cáceres flip in his telephone and cooperate with authorities of their seek for his spouse.

After his questioning on Sept. 14, Cáceres rode away on his motorbike, López Cedeño stated. He has not been seen since.

Carillo, the inside minister, vowed to apprehend Cáceres. Interpol final week issued a Blue Discover, a request for worldwide assist in amassing “details about an individual’s identification, location or actions in relation to against the law.”

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“We’ve got search groups on the alleged perpetrator, and we aren’t going to let him go,” Carillo stated. “Below each stone, wherever he’s in any a part of the world, we’re going to discover him and we’re going to submit him to the administration of justice.”

Otavalo has requested the prosecutor’s workplace to hunt help from authorities from Colombia or one other nation to make sure the investigation is neutral.

Carillo stated the “crime was not deliberate.”

“He should have left plenty of clues,” he advised Ecuavisa Noticias.

Lolo Miño, govt director of the Observatory of Rights and Justice of Ecuador, stated she has by no means seen such indignation over a case of suspected gender violence. Bernal’s dying is stunning not solely as a result of it occurred at a police academy, she stated, however as a result of she was a felony protection legal professional.

“Even with that profile,” Miño stated, “she couldn’t escape the violence.”



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