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  • Santiago Maldonado

    Santiago Maldonado | Photo: Facebook / Justice for Santiago

Published 24 November 2017

Relatives of the artist who went missing following a Mapuche demonstration are calling for the case to be investigated as a "forced disappearance followed by death."

Argentine backpacker and artist Santiago Maldonado drowned in the waters of the southern Chubut River in the South American country after surrendering to authorities at a Mapuche demonstration, it has been announced.

Maldonado Family Renews Demand for Independent Investigation

His death, according to Judge Gustavo Leal, was caused by hypothermia as he "remained underwater," EFE reported from Buenos Aires. Roughly 28 experts were in charge of the 28-year-old fine arts graduate’s autopsy.

Meanwhile, Maldonado’s family insists that the case be investigated as a "forced disappearance followed by death," according to Clarin.

"We insist that the case must continue under the status of enforced disappearance followed by death, since we believe that everything came to an end because there was repression and an act of institutional violence," said Veronica Heredia, the attorney representing Maldonado’s family.

"What we are asking for is an impartial investigation that has not yet begun. The investigation is not independent since it is being carried out by people from the Ministry of Security."

Maldonado disappeared on August 1 in Pu Lof, shortly after he was arrested during a demonstration in support of Argentina's Indigenous Mapuche community. His body was found in the Chubut River on October 19, caught in the branches of willow trees. 

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