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  • Maria Jose Coni and Marina Menegazzo

    Maria Jose Coni and Marina Menegazzo | Photo: Facebook

Argentine tourists Marina Menegazzo and Maria Jose Coni were found dead after being reported missing on Feb. 22 on Ecuador's coast.

An Ecuadorean court has sentenced to 40 years each of the two men accused of murdering two young Argentine tourists in Ecuador’s coastal area of Montañita earlier this year.

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Ecuadorean Attorney General Galo Chiriboga announced the sentence on his Twitter account Wednesday, identifying the accused as Segundo P. and Eduardo D.

The two men were charged with the murder of 21-year-old Marina Menegazzo and 22-year-old Maria Jose Coni, two tourists from Argentina who were found dead after they were reported missing on Feb. 22 during their travels on Ecuador’s coast.

A court in the western Ecuadorean province of Santa Elena declared suspect Aurelio Eduardo Rodriguez the killer and Alberto Segundo Mina Ponce as a co-author in the crime.

Aurelio Eduardo Rodríguez and Alberto Segundo Mina Ponce | Photo: Twitter / @ppsesa

Investigations revealed that the two women were drugged before being murdered. Coni showed signs of being killed by a blow to the head, while Menegazzo had injuries to the head, face, and neck, indicating torture.

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The case included some 200 pieces of evidence, including forensic tests and three dozen witness statements, local media reported. Chiriboga said last month that there is evidence pointing to the involvement of other suspects in the crime.

Coni’s mother, Gladys Stefani, who attended the sentencing hearing for her daughter’s murder in Santa Elena, said the 40-year sentence for the accused brought her “peace,” but that she still wanted to see justice served to other perpetrators, local media reported.

When the suspects were arrested at the end of February, Ecuador’s Interior Minister Jose Serrano announced that Ponce has turned himself in for the murder and reported Rodriguez, who also goes by the nickname El Rojo, as his partner in crime.

Chiriboga called the verdict and sentence a “precedent against heinous crimes.”

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