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  • A person holds a poster of Santiago Maldonado during a march to demand justice.

    A person holds a poster of Santiago Maldonado during a march to demand justice. | Photo: EFE

The Argentine activist disappeared and was found months later, his family awaits an autopsy and is demanding an independent investigation.

The parents of Santiago Maldonado published a letter, the first statement since the young Argentine was found dead after being missing for 78 days, to thank people for the worldwide support they have received.

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Stella Peloso and Enrique Maldonado wrote a letter to express their sadness after months of looking for their son, a 28-year-old artisan and activist.

"From the depth of our pain as Santiago's parents to all Argentine citizens and to the world, we want to thank you for every word of encouragement, every letter, every hug; your tears reached our hearts," said the letter.

"Our days, our life has been shattered, we only have the deep pain of having lost our beloved son," they continued.

Maldonado's body was found on Oct. 17 on the Chubut river near the area where witnesses say he was taken by police on Aug. 1 after a police raid during a strike in a Mapuche Indigenous community.

"We remember Santiago laughing, singing, drawing, tattooing, which is what he did in our home, we remember his travels, his funny anecdotes, his endless calls despite the distance, always present, always witty, always in solidarity," the parents said.

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They also thanked the support of citizens who are demanding justice for his death and are awaiting the results of an official autopsy on Nov. 24.

"The days are going by, we miss not being able to call him and listen to his voice," said the letter. "Our pain is endless and our gratitude to all is endless."

Sergio Maldonado, Santiago's brother, said Thursday that a judge has rejected his request for an independent investigation of the case, but said he will continue to demand one in international forums.

"We believe that this is the only way that we'll be able to know what happened to Santiago and who are the criminal, political, and administrative responsible," he added.


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